Today we got the preliminary diagnosis from the second biopsy: it's between a liposarcoma or a synovial sarcoma. "The good news is that both of types of cancers are initially treated the same way and both types tend to respond very well to chemotherapy," says the Doctor. "The bad news is that at the present moment these diseases are incurable." These last words nobody wants to hear.
But what does this all mean? For starters, we are very close to a final diagnosis. In the next day, after completing the "FISH" analysis, we should know exactly which type of cancer we're dealing with. Although this doesn't change the treatment plan for now, a definitive diagnosis will allow us to hone in on the disease for future treatments, if necessary, allowing for the "sniper" approach. Also, there's a very good likelihood that the chemotherapy will shrink the tumor and systemically control the cancer, up to a 90 percent. This will stop the spread of the disease and reduce the pressures in my legs and spine that are causing me so much pain. This is all great news!
I've always heard of people "struggling with cancer their whole lives." I now understand and this is where "incurable" fits in. "Incurable" is different than "treatable." Everything is treatable: there are drugs and methods to alleviate and maintain the symptoms of the disease so that I can live a long and comfortable life. Unfortunately for now, there's a possibility that I will always have this disease, though dormant, inside my body, and I may have to go through further rounds of treatment later on.
Now this all being said, we're at the pinnacle of our times (as we always are), and there are some great drugs in their final stages of development to be released in the next six to nine months. These drugs can possibly lead to a "cure" or at least minimize the chances of the cancer relapsing. In addition to my treatment controlling the disease and alleviating the symptoms, my treatment is buying me time until one of these wonderful drugs comes out to cure my disease.
My uncle has been struggling with bladder cancer for 31 years, over which time he has had 24 surgical procedures. Last March his doctor suggested that he try a new treatment under investigation and six weeks later he is cured! He is 84 years old.
"Breathe in Hope, Breathe out Love."