Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

May 31st – Who Wants to Have Surgery over the Summer Anyway?

I had my 3rd CT scan since I started this round of chemo and the great news is that the chemo continues to work. My tumors continue to shrink and I am showing “excellent response” compared to most patients. Of course, this is a huge relief.

I sometimes find that I have to catch myself from saying to the Doctors, “But I showed excellent response last time and you told me I was in the top 5% of responses from all patients and my cancer still came back!” Of course, this type of attitude is not productive. I just need to accept that every exam with an absence of bad news is, in fact, a step in the right direction. According to the Doctors, it doesn’t matter what chemo cocktail I respond to, as long as I respond to one. So, let’s hope the cocktail I am getting every Friday works for good.

I find that the more I learn about cancer, the more I realize how ongoing treatment is a science of “trial and error”. I think we all would like to believe that Doctors know exactly what plan they are putting you on, how long it will last, and the likelihood of survival/recovery. However, despite the fact that I am working with the best oncologists and surgeons in the world, I still often get the answer “we don’t know…we’ll just have to wait and see”. This doesn’t necessarily scare me, it just makes me realize that cancer treatment is not black & white at all…every patient is different and doctors are learning as they go.

A good example of this is the conversation Dave and I had with Dr. Singer, my surgeon, when we met with him last week. He examined my x-rays and we discussed the benefits of my having surgery now or waiting until I had received more chemotherapy. Dave and I were expecting there to be a very scientific answer but the answer we got from my Doctor was “Well, I could do surgery now or I could do surgery a few months from now. The timing of the surgery is really irrelevant. I like my summers and if I were you, I wouldn’t want to have surgery while the weather is nice. So,unless you are not tolerating the chemo well and feel the need for a break, how about if we plan it for end of summer or September?” At first, Dave and I thought the Doctor was kidding. However, he was not. He explained that I am “signed up” for a lot of chemo with surgery somewhere along the process. Having surgery sooner rather than later will not reduce the total amount of treatment I will be receiving. I so appreciate him allowing me to enjoy my summer but it was not the response Dave and I were planning!

So, that being said, it looks like a few more rounds of chemo, surgery in a few months and then perhaps more chemo after surgery (TBD). As long as I continue to feel good, this long range plan doesn’t make me sad. The truth is, once you’ve started and the hair has already fallen out, you might as well keep going until your body tells you to stop.

I continue to feel great! Dave and I spent last weekend going to a sarcoma conference and a gala benefit where we got to meet many medical specialists from around the world. It was both inspiring and sobering. So many people had heard about the success of Spin4Survival which was so great. I continue to realize just how much the $200K+ that we all raised is making a difference in the world for so many. Stay tuned for more news about Spin4Survival II. The video was just completed and it looks great. I am hoping to post it in the next week.