to be clear

hello all --

we just returned from our appointment with our lovely oncologist at UCSF.  and there's two kinds of news today:

* the easiest news is that rebecca's brain looks totally clear.  nothing new, all the old stuff's gone.  there's still a weird growth at her pituitary but it's back to the size it was before everything went nuts last fall.

* the harder new is that there's some new growths in her torso.  the main two are a brand new little guy on her liver that is already an inch in diameter, and something in her pancreas that went from 8 millimeters to 17 millimeters.  that's significant growth, and a cause for concern.

* there's also some increased growth, and some decreased growth, in her lungs.  the grandmother tumor, for example, has shrunk a little bit.  in other places, they went from being tiny spots to now being 9 millimeters.

so there's a range of options on the table for us right now:

* option 1: qualify for and enroll in another EGFR treatment.  i don't remember what EGFR stands for, but the thing to know about it is that it directly engages with the cancer cells.  that differentiates it from the other two primary treatments, which are immunotherapy (teaching your immune system to recognize and attack cancer) and chemotherapy (destroy all the fastest growing cells in your body).  tarceva (our first pill) and tagrisso (our current pill) are both EGFR treatments.  tagrisso is the very latest approved drug in that category, and so there's no next-generation pill to graduate to at this time.  but there's a zillion experiments around the bay area and the country to try to discover the next generation pill.  our doctor is checking in with his colleagues at stanford and UC Davis to see if they have anything right now that's appropriate.

but that all comes down to timing and qualifications.  some of the trials they're doing aren't open to people that have already been on tarceva or tagrisso, because they're looking for pure data.  the vicissitudes of the cancer-industrial complex.

* option 2: chemo.  the silver lining on this one is that the best chemo for lung cancer is the least side-effect oriented.  our doctor says some young people on it keep going to work during the treatment.  and it turns out that rebecca's young still.

* option 3: immunotherapies.  these have a 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 hit rate, but if they work, they don't stop working.  she'll be eligible for the latest immunotherapy (which is a take-at-home pill) called opdivo once she does chemo and either doesn't tolerate it or the cancer keeps growing.

i list those as the options, because some things just aren't options.  not optional is your prayer, love and support.  it's buttressed us all in these times, so many of these times.

we went in there kinda ready to hear the cancer was all gone.

(i guess i'm always ready to hear that.)

but that's not what happened.  and the feeling right now is one of curiosity. and the question right now is: what is the healing path?

it doesn't feel doubtful that the healing path is looming in front of us.  we just are feeling around in the dark for the appropriate open door.  for example, maybe she goes back down to brazil for a month to be treated by that mad scientist in abadiania, since her head's cleared up and his machines treat the body.

maybe that's the wisdom path.

we're not sure.  we're listening.  and so we ask you to pray with us...



sweet Creator
thank you
for Everything

we pray to walk in your will
we pray to listen well
and to have what we need in order to listen well
we pray for the path forward to healing to be clear

we pray for rebecca's body to be clear of all tumors
we pray for rebecca to be in radiant health
we pray for the ongoing health of baby solas
we pray for the ongoing health of the people holding this prayer

we pray
in the name of jesus
in the name of mary
in the name of mary
in the name of brigid

and we call again on the spirit of bill bolger
father, grandfather and deal-maker
dad! let's get this thing done

with gratitude
we surrender
in faith