And it is the best possible outcome under the circumstances. "No evidence for active lung cancer." "No evidence of recurrent disease." Anywhere. Good blood work, physical exam normal. I was elated and thrilled, hugging and screaming (Neil tried to stop me but he couldn't). We celebrated with martinis and wine, a nice dinner, and coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert.
But in between screaming in delight and the celebratory dinner I remained sober and attentive in my meeting with Dr. Herbst. I am not cured. Presently, there is no cure for lung cancer beyond surgery. The Tarceva will stop working. It is not a matter of if, but when. Could be three months, could be eight years. Unfortunately, not only is there no Tarceva II, there is no standard protocol to follow when Tarceva fails.
The plan going forward is to be scanned every 3 months, alternating between Houston and Atlanta. Dr. Herbst also suggested having a chest x-ray every six weeks. I have information on other physicians around the country working with lung cancer patients, active clinical trials and the latest research projects; I have met the people driving the Lung Cancer Alliance, Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Foundation and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. They will not let me down, not without a big, fat fight.
I still have a difficult road ahead of me but I am going to take some time to revel in this good fortune. I am going to finish my rehab program, continue my never-ending doctor visits, and soak up some (metaphorical) sun.
According to Scheinberg, Tarceva + prayer is a perfect cocktail. Thank you all for providing such a great mixer.