Mt Lebanon Magazine

710 Washington Rd
Pittsburgh, PA 15228

Mt Lebanon Magazine

The official magazine of Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania

scanning for positives

I agreed to continue my blogs. It’s been quite a while since my last one. I’ll be talking about my onset of Lung Cancer. Boy, that sounds like a real downer. But I am here to tell you, yes, at times it is. Yet my mood always picks up. I will first tell you about what I’m dealing with now. Then I‘ll go back to how this became a large part of my life in 2015 when I got the news—Cancer.

On December 29, my husband, Wess, and I flew to the Pittsburgh Airport at 7 p.m. after visiting our daughter, Allegra, her husband, Matt, and their three children, at their home in northern England. Our two-week visit over the Christmas holidays was great fun with a large extended family and friends—a real pick-me-up for my spirits. Our lovely neighbor Patti picked us up at the airport and on arriving home the three of us celebrated our wonderful trip with a glass of wine. Since we scheduled the trip to be home for my 10th chemo appointment the next day, getting a decent night’s sleep was in the offing, with the lights out by 10 that night.

We arrived on Wednesday morning, December 30, in time for the 8:15 appointment, still sleepy. First a blood draw and a visit with my oncologist for an update on my cancer status and then to one of the five infusion rooms to get hooked up to the chemo drip. That usually takes about three and a half hours for the saline solution and medications prescribed. I took a much-needed light nap in the chair, as I don’t sleep well on planes.

When I returned for another visit three weeks later, my doctor cancelled the chemo for that visit and scheduled me for a scan to see how the chemo treatments were progressing. I would also to be marked for radiation, which was a consideration to take care of an area in the hip bone showing lung cancer tissue. Because of the cancer in the bone I was considered Stage Four cancer. January 25 was the date for the scan and radiation marking.

My oncologist visit three days later was bad news. My cancer in the lower lobe of my lung on my right side had thickened; the mediastinum showed a grouping of glowing lymph nodes back for a second time. Also the ischium bone in my hip showed the lung cancer tissue in the bone was increasing.Lung cancer ( CT scan of chest and abdomen : show right lung cancer ) ( Coronal plane )

Not good, said my doctor as he looked disturbed. A bit of a shock it was for Wess and me. We viewed the scan, which kind of looks like a wavy colorful oil painting, from the brain to the area of the ischium. Yep, it was glowing red, the scan’s color of cancer. Good color for a painting!

He said no more chemo; we needed to try something else. There is a new group of immunotherapy drugs and one of them, Opdivo, was approved for treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in October 2015. My type of cancer! Wess read a lot about this drug and immediately approved. Me too! My treatments would be every two weeks. I am now thinking of setting up a bed at my medical center, but they would probably charge me rent. I’ve nixed that brilliant idea.

I had my first infusion of Opdivo January 29, with the next scheduled for this Friday. As with all medications there are a plethora of downsides.  I won’t mention them. So far with my first treatment I am doing fine, except for my slightly down mood with this new unsettling news. But I will be back in fighting form very soon. Just writing about this is making me feel better. That’s it for now.


  1. Author’s gravatar

    A friend of mine has been through a full round of immunotherapy drugs for lung and brain cancer at the Cleveland Clinic with very positive results. All tumors have shrunk or disappeared. Prayers for your journey.

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