Update: Treatment begun

Posted by corywh @corywh, May 8 11:46am

Hey all. I just wanted to share an update on things. Brief catch up from other post: I'm 42, diagnosed with Stage 3 SCC. I found out after my diagnosis actually that I am one of 4 people diagnosed with the exact same cancer from a pest control employer I worked at in the early 2000s…. but that's a whole other story. . .

I just completed my first round of chemo and immunotherapy. This is one round of 4 total. I have two treatments over two weeks, then a week break and so on. I am strongly considering getting the port even though I don't really want to. I can't bear being stuck 6 times to find a vein :).

Since I last posted they were still unsure of the staging. I had another biopsy and another PET scan and MRI. My supraclavical lymphnode "slightly" lit up on the PET scan so they wanted to test this before coming up with a treatment plan as it can significantly alter the staging and treatment. I know that 90% of the time this comes back malignant.

I may not have beat the other odds… but I beat those odds :). The lymphnode came back clean! Now, it has affected other lymphnodes in my chest but they are all "regional", it has not impacted the left side at all and it is in the mediastinum as well. So its not an ideal situation, but its certainly better than it could be.

So long story short.. they feel that my condition is Operable. I am so relieved. I know it's not necessarily a "cure" but I do know that it's better for them to do surgery if they can. So the plan is 4 rounds of chemo/immuno, and then I will be hopefully going for surgery after that (they will do another scans etc. to be sure). As of right now, it has not metastasized and it is still regional. Late stage, but operable.

I feel really blessed and more encouraged than I have since this all started. The doctors at Vanderbilt are amazing. They actually reviewed by case with the thoracic board (a gathering of all the different types of cancer doctors/surgeons etc. every 2 weeks between Vanderbilt and the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute here and they look at one or two cases) and this is how they came up with my plan.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Lung Cancer Support Group.

Congratulations may sound strange, corywh, but all in all, good news. Keep us posted.


@corywh, 'Regional' sounds great! I'm glad you are moving forward with a solid plan. Knowing that there are some hard times ahead, you still sound strong and up-beat. Did your first round of chemo & immunotherapy go ok? Do you have support of family or friends?


Thanks, Lisa. My first round went okay yes… the second part of the first round was definitely rougher than the first but I feel mostly normal after 2-3 days. I have lots of support 🙂

I was a bit worried about hearing loss since I've been having ringing in the ear with loss of hearing for 10-15 seconds, but they are going to watch it closely. They sent me for a comprehensive hearing test and those results came back good.

I'm not totally sure what to expect in terms of how hard the surgery is but I am sure it's not easy and it's obviously a major surgery.

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