Since you asked, or rather indulged me the past few weeks by wading through my two "Scanticipation" columns anticipating a result, I am happy to finally share that result with you: "Stable and better." These are the exact words e-mailed to me by my oncologist in response to my post-Thanksgiving inquiry about my CT Scan completed on the 27th. Then, as you most recent Kenny-column readers may recall, I had my regularly scheduled post-scan appointment this past Friday, December 6th to discuss those results, and of course have my oncologist examine and question me about any facts, feelings or failings, concerning the previous three months since my last appointment (and four months since my last scan) as a terminal cancer patient. He’s not exactly Hubert H. Humphrey, but nevertheless, he was "pleased as punch." And if there’s one dominant recollection I’ll take home with me from my appointment, it was my oncologist’s ear-to-ear smile when sharing his assessment of all things concerning Kenny-with-cancer.
In fact, and in reality-check truth, if you’ve been characterized as "terminal" by your doctor, whether "diseased" by cancer or some other deadly condition, and you’re still undergoing treatment, there’s no better feeling – or hope, quite frankly, than seeing your doctor happy and encouraging when sharing/discussing your most recent diagnostic scan/lab work, urine specimen, etc. And considering that Team Lourie has seen my oncologist with less than positive news on previous occasions, hardly do I ever take it for granted when he’s as upbeat and enthusiastic as he was during Friday’s appointment.
Unfortunately, the process is ongoing and subject to change; after all, stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer is incurable/inoperable. But I am finding out that at least for me/for awhile, it is/can be treatable, albeit non-surgically. Moreover, as long as my body continues to tolerate the every-three-week chemotherapy infusions, I am good to go, or as described by my oncologist: on maintenance. Meaning, we can continue to do this for awhile. And though "awhile" is never defined or discussed, really, given the predictable/unpredictable nature of cancer – and its interactions with the diagnosee, I can live with the indeterminate sentence that I’ve been fortunate to receive. It certainly beats the alternative.
Originally, I was "prognosed" to live "13 months to two years" by my oncologist. As of November 27th, I have lived four years and 9 months, so I am accustomed to being life-expectancy challenged. And since I’ve surpassed my oncologist’s initial prognosis by years, I don’t see any reason to stop now, especially considering the results from my most recent scan and associated lab work. As my brother Richard has said: "If the oncologist is happy then I’m happy." Well, as of Friday, December 6th, I am very happy.