Weeks 138 and 139 in the war on lung cancer have passed. Dyanne has had ablation in Germany and we have lost a fellow warrior. Here are the highlights:
- As mentioned in the previous update, our strategy to fight progression consists of doing ablation of the 2-3 growing tumors in Dyanne’s lungs and then beefing up the immunotherapy treatment Dyanne is receiving. We started the beefed up immunotherapy treatment two and half weeks ago when Dyanne got a bit of ipilimumab (an immunotherapy drug). A week and a half ago we then went to Frankfurt in Germany to do ablation. After some deliberations, we decided to get the treatment done there by Prof Thomas Vogl. He is specializing in ablation and also some other “interventional radiology” procedures.
- The procedure basically involves putting a needle into the tumor, turning on microwaves, and heating up the tumor so that the cells die. The main risk is that the lung collapses (aka “pneumonthorax”).
- Dyanne was treated as an outpatient and, apart from some pain, the procedure went smoothly.
- We had hoped that it would be possible to ablate two metastasis in the same procedure. However, only one was treated. Which means we need another, or perhaps several, similar procedures in the near future.
- As part of the microwave ablation procedure, we also wanted to have a biopsy done so that we could gather some intelligence on our enemy. A biopsy was done, but unfortunately the extracted tissue turned out to not contain any tumor cells. Although this could sound like good news, the reason for the lack of tumor cells was most likely that the needle did not exactly hit the tumor as the tumor was so small (around 8 mm).
- The day after the ablation, Dyanne got another vaccine injection in Frankfurt.
- In the week and a half that have passed since the ablation was done, Dyanne has had some nausea, not so great appetite, some soreness in the lung and some fatigue. She has gradually gotten better, but still is not 100%. She has also lost a couple of kilos and we are trying to regain those again.
As we fight on against this terrible disease, we learned today that one of our fellow warriors, Kate in Australia, had passed away. Kate was 52 years old and have been an inspiration for many of us in the EGFR lung cancer community. She, and her husband, have always done very thorough research on treatment options and have, with the help of some cooperative doctors, been able to implement several innovative treatments that multiple times have kept her cancer in check – even when all hope had seemed lost. However, in the end it was too much, and she has now left the world. The battle that Kate and her husband fought reminds me of a poem by the Norwegian poet and journalist Nordahl Grieg. The poem is called The Best (link in Norwegian) and is written in honor of the best among us. The best among us, those pure at heart, the most ambitious and the bravest, they are not part of our future, the poem reads. They are not part of our future because they are busy dying on the battle fields. But they have enriched the lives of all those who got to know them. And the way to honor them is to be brave, as they were. Kate was one of the best. She was one of our best. We will honor her memory by continuing the battle to the best of our abilities. One day we will succeed.