I am alive. My hands, feet, eyes and ears all work. to prove it, I was able to take a walk this morning and it was a sensory feast. Squirrels playing, moist cool air and earthy smells from the earlier rain, cozy looking houses, red winter berries, magnificent evergreens.
Most of all, my lungs are clear. I am breathing - deep, full breaths in this crispy morning air. Seems like ages since I had and needed an oxygen tube. I am feeling great.
Here's the luckiest part. Based on new research (source below) that was just released, the survival rates of stage IV, ALK-positive lung cancer patients has improved dramatically to a new median survival of 6.8 years. Wowsers!
This is beginning to feel more like a chronic health condition to be managed rather than a death sentence. When the lung cancer culprit is a genetic mutation, then protein inhibitors are taken daily as pills (referred to as targeted therapy). I take Alectinib, 600 mg. daily with minimal side effects.
Before all this happened I was blithely unaware that lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the U.S. for both men and women. I have such gratitude for the multitude of researchers who continuously work to unlock the causes and cures for all cancers, especially lung cancer. I am also appreciative of the ongoing funding that made this particular research possible.
Count me in as lucky. Blessed. Encouraged. Grateful.
Source - Pacheco, JM et al, "Natural history and factors associated with overall survival in stage IV ALK rearranged non-small cell lung cancer" J Thora Oncol 2019.