Posted by: cg00n | May 17, 2012

For Your Lumps Only

Welcome back to more news and pictures intended for your entertainment and edification.  Good luck finding either or both.

First up:  I got a call from Dr. D informing me of the results of the B-RAF mutation test.  I lose.  So much for trying to feel lucky.  So, Vemurafenib is off the menu since it won’t work for my lumps.

Moving on to the proposed IL-2 direct injections, little has changed except that a few emails have passed back and forth between Dr. G‘s assistant and myself.  When we first mooted this treatment P and I had the impression that I could start within a week or two.  That was six weeks ago and one of my lumps had grown to about 8mm in diameter – see photo section below.  I should have a date for the first injections Real Soon Now but that day could still be a week or two away by which time it would have grown some more.  After that I would have to wait a little longer to know if the injection was effective – it is possible that this won’t work on me.  As a result, when we saw Dr. M today I got the thing taken out, along with a couple more that were a little worrying.  It was quite a chunk of meat, let me tell you.  I took a short glance at the procedure in progress and abandoned any idea of ever becoming a surgeon.

It was my intention to take up Dr. Ohashi’s offer to supply her with some tumour tissue so that her team could culture some of my T-cells.  However, I left it too late to figure out all the ins-and-outs involved.  There are normally quite a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to clear before I can start FedEx-ing bits of myself across the continent, although she was kind enough to offer  to fast-track this if I could get the machinery going at my end.  Sadly I couldn’t find the right buttons to push so this will have to wait for another day and another lump.

Both Dr. D and Dr. M confirmed that I was the sole subject of a meeting of the two of them plus Dr. G held on April 30th.  The intent was to try to figure out a course of action between them so that I would have a more coherent picture of my treatment options.  However, as Dr. M admitted, they really don’t have a very coherent plan.  My particular case is a little unusual, mostly in the sense that I’m still alive and generally kicking after four years with only a mangled leg to show for it.  Dr. G has scheduled me for another PET scan in early June to make sure things have not spread beyond the leg.  When (and if) they do then Dr. D can do her best to remove the pestilence by chemical means and perhaps I will be treated to some cultured T-cells by Dr. Ohashi, but until then all we can do is to keep more or less treating the symptoms.  Sometimes this really wears me down.  When a new lump comes up it is a bit like being given a random electric shock.  There is nothing I can do to prevent the shocks or to control when they come.  This can lead to a real sense of helplessness, and that was what got me interested in the book Learned Optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman.

Animal research suggests that about two thirds of the population will give up trying to improve their situation if they are subject to random, uncontrollable annoyances.  However, the remaining one third will never give up:  they do not learn helplessness but manage to remain optimistic.  Dr. Seligman explores some of the implications of this for humans.  There are several interesting online tests one can take at the Authentic Happiness website.  I tried several and discovered, to my total shock and amazement, that I am actually quite the optimist.  The results of the Optimism test suggests that I believe good things have permanent causes, that bad things are the result of transient conditions, and that a failure in one area of my life has no particular bearing on any other areas.  These are all signs of optimism and optimism is good for your health, in general.  I guess I’m happier than I realised.

Exactly how my anxiety fits into this I’m not sure but I’m not going to let that get me down.  I have now convinced myself that taking Clonazepam to help regulate my mood is no worse than taking heart or thyroid medication.  Maybe I will be sufficiently enlightened, eventually, to be able to rise above my mental afflictions but for now I’m content to keep taking the tablets as necessary.

News Roundup

I am reliably informed that one of my good friends has just had a suspicious mole removed from the foot.  My thoughts and best wishes are with you and I will be most interested to hear the results of the pathology report.

In other news:

Photo Section

A couple more leg shots for those of you with a fetish for the macabre.

Octolumpy: the scene in early February 2012

8mm lump awaiting excision

Big Evil Eye

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Responses

  1. Check out http://chaoticallypreciselifeloveandmelanoma.blogspot.com/2012/05/abstract-on-anti-pd1-mdx-1106.html#comment-form

    She is having good results with her treatment and her scientific background gives insights into current on going studies . Hope this helps .

    Namaste

  2. Dear LB, Thanks for the link! Les has quite a bit of interesting stuff on her site. Perhaps, as a nurse, she has a better chance of understanding it than I 🙂 Anyway, your support is greatly appreciated


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