Joan and I met yesterday with my radiation oncologist, a nice young man named Dr. Barry Goy. Dr. Goy will be overseeing my upcoming radiation therapy. I’ll meet with him for the initial planning session next Thursday morning, during which he’ll localize the areas in my chest to be treated.
During our meeting, Joan asked the doctor what the current prognosis is for stage IIIb non-small cell lung cancer patients. He told us statistics show a 5-year survival rate of 10-20% for treated patients. The median survival rate (when 50% of patients have survived, and 50% have died) is generally between 12 and 18 months. Not sunny news, but hardly a surprise to me, the Hopeless Google Junkie. Especially a hopeless Google junkie who also happens to be Queen of Long Shot Gamblers.
When playing the ponies, who cares about the horse with an easy 2-1 odds when one can bet on horses like Donerail? Donerail was the winner of the 1913 Kentucky Derby; a 91-1 long shot. He was a 3 year old stallion who rushed up from way, way behind to win the race in the stretch, beating Ten Point, a 6-5 favorite.
Dr. Goy tells me that radiation therapy is usually done over 5 weeks, in 15 minute sessions every weekday. The plan is for me to go each day from the radiation to the chemo session, a more aggressive approach to killing off cancer cells and shrinking tumors. While I have to wait until 1/20 to meet with the oncologist who will oversee my chemotherapy, Dr. Goy hopes to begin the radiation slightly before the chemo commences. Am I champing at the bit to get started? Yes! I was diagnosed with lung cancer on November 26, 2010. I’m holding November 26, 2015 in my mind as the date I want to be here to see; just as sure as Donerail set his eye on that long-ago finish line. Despite all odds.