Dear family & friends,
Thank you for all of your inquiries about and expressions of support for Stuart. Although many of you have reached out to us directly, many others have chosen to give us more space. We welcome and appreciate both considerations. Although I hesitated sending out another group update for fear our lives were turning into the “Truman Show,” I realize that it is probably easier for everyone if I do.
As you may know, Stu’s cancer reappeared in a scan in May, and showed further progression in follow up scans in June and again in July. We knew the crizotinib was losing its effectiveness and that we’d have to switch to a new therapy. However, our hope was to stick with the 2 pills/day of crizotinib until the clinical trial of a new, more powerful targeted therapy designed for crizotinib-resistant patients becomes available in early August. However, with his symptoms progressing (mostly fatigue, breathlessness, and coughing) and the trial date pushed back to the end of August, the oncologists decided that we could no longer wait for the clinical trial to begin. They suggested chemotherapy as an intervening therapy to get us there.
Stu has also been having some moderate headaches, so as a precaution and to avoid any surprises that might keep us out of the trial, the oncologists recommended a brain MRI. Unfortunately, on Monday, the MRI showed metastases in his brain. There are multiple types and locations of metastases requiring “whole brain radiation,” which is just as it sounds.
Today, Stu had a spine MRI which is normal follow up test when brain mets are found. Fortunately, his spine looks perfectly clear and it was terrific getting a bit of good news!
Now the real fight begins.
Tomorrow, Stu will have his first round of chemotherapy. Because chemo today is more sophisticated than it was just a few years ago, we’re hoping that the side effects will be limited. But we won’t know until he’s a week or two into it. And next Monday, Stu will start ten consecutive days (skipping the weekend) of brain radiation. The side effects of the radiation, when administered alone, are also usually limited, but with the chemo and radiation being administered so closely together, we’re not exactly sure what to expect. After the second week of radiation, Stu will have his second dose of chemo. By then we’ll be nearing the end of August and hopefully preparing to transition to the clinical trial.
August is going to be a tough month, but we have confidence in our team and their plan. And with your thoughtfulness and support, now more important than ever, we know we’ll come out the other end much stronger.
With love and gratitude,
P.S. – We’re grateful to all who have reached out to us via cards, email, text, and phone calls. Although there are times we don’t feel like responding or can’t respond right away, please know it really helps that people are sending care and positive energy our way. Many of you have offered rides, dog care, and meals among other things, all of which are greatly appreciated. I have taken some offers but for the most part we are doing great and handling these things on our own. At some point I may take up more of you on your generous offers. Also, please note that we are trying to eat “clean” and keep Stu on a healthy and nutritious diet. So, although we love chocolate and candy and cakes, please don’t tempt us with those!