By Lalaine Alfaro for Lungcancer.net
How can you get ready to do something though being scared to death or most frightened? Despite fear you still have the ability to be useful. There are moments I feel a great deal of fear and anxiety about the situations or choices when living with lung cancer. Sometimes I can overcome them but there are times it is hard.
Fear of metastases and treatment unknowns
My lung cancer had developed into a brain tumor. I am grateful to my target therapy treatment my brain MRI has been clear so far. In some situations, metastatic cancer can be cured however not the primary site of cancer. Lung cancer has the tendency to commonly spread to the brain, bone, and liver. Sometimes there are many metastases in one or both lungs such as the edges of the lungs, in the lower lobes, and outside the lungs like the pleura. With the new development of different targeted therapy treatments, I am in good hands for survival.
My targeted therapy treatment can only control my lung cancer. My oncologist says I am staying on my current TKI as long as possible. Research studies have shown there are second drivers and new bypass mechanisms after findings of resistance. Later treatment options are available depending on other genetic testing results. This is good news down the line.
The realities of scanxiety
Every computed tomography (CT) scan shows the location, size, and shape of the lung cancer tumor. My scans are the chest-abdomen-pelvic CT and the semi-annual brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I have taken my targeted therapy pills for more than a year now. Both of my scans are showing good results. I remind myself scans are routine check-ups. These are important for my survival.
One of the serious side effects of my ALK-positive TKI is anemia and liver toxicity. My blood tests frequency of once a month has not changed. Subsequently, my oncologist monthly discusses the results with me, mostly over the phone due to Covid-19 restrictions. A complete blood count (CBC) is done to see my complete health during my treatment. Another way of looking after my overall health.
Worries about serious side effects
When I first received my prescription for my ALK-positive TKI, the cancer pharmacist gave me a booklet of side effects and tips to overcome them. However, there are serious ones that involve dose reduction and stoppage of prescription in order to reduce toxicity. Quite a scary condition but health safety is a priority for health care providers. Read more.