My Personal Cancer Journey — The Magic is Gone

The Tarceva has stopped working. My latest CT Scan revealed that two (2) of my tumors have increased noticeably in size since December. Even though the original tumor has remained shrunken, other tumors in the lung have not. We knew that the Tarceva would be effective for a limited time, typically 12-15 months. It is somewhat ironic that it has been almost exactly 15 months since I started taking what I called “my magic pill.”

I can’t say that I am surprised. My CT Scan in December showed no additional shrinkage which, to me, was an indication that the Tarceva had run its course. So when one tumor nearly doubled in size and the other increased significantly, I was prepared for the inevitability of the situation.

The good news, of course, is that another pill, Gilotrif (clinically known as Afatinib), which was approved last summer, is now available for those like me who began treatment with Tarceva. It requires the same EGFR mutation that I was lucky enough to have. My doctor feels that, if this new pill works (we won’t know for several months), it could continue to be effective for about as long as the Tarceva worked. That means that my life span may well  have been extended another 15 months. Hip, hip hooray!

Of course I am disappointed. I had hoped that the magic of Tarceva would continue indefinitely. However, the reality is that we must now embark on a new course of treatment and leave the past behind. My attitude remains optimistic that I have a few years left before my departure from this world. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Afatinib works as well as Tarceva, and that it does not have significant side effects for me ( I was very lucky that the side effects of Tarceva were minimal).

Continue to join me as we enter and celebrate Scene 2 of Act V of the passion play of my life.

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