I get asked this question a lot – how long will I be on this treatment? I used to be really attached to that answer. If you’ve been with me through these 4 years of treatment, you know how many times I was disappointed to learn that my assumption about, or even what I had first been told about the number of treatments was wrong, or was later changed. So I’ve worked really hard to let go of expectations. It’s not easy. As cancer patients, we all want to know THE PLAN. As I’ve discussed before, it’s just not that clear. I think it is more clear with some cancers – they just know more about how to stop it and they are much better at preventing recurrences. But we’re just not there with ovarian cancer yet.
So, when I first started this treatment, Dr. B said 6 months. And because sometimes I do actually learn something, I decided not to be married to that. Sure enough, when I saw him last week, he confirmed that he is still working on getting the Avastin approved, and that he is confident it WILL be approved. He’s very pleased with how far my CA125 came down after the first cycle with just the Abraxane. And then he said the words that used to crush me emotionally – “you know, there is no limit to how long people can be on these drugs – you can be on them a year or more”, and I didn’t freak out. I didn’t really even pause. I mean, I have certainly given thought to being bald for a full year or more. And honestly after a year, I’m not sure I’ll want to have hair again because y’all, this is the easiest side effect for me. You have no idea how much time we spend on hair until you have none.
Anyway, here’s the answer to your question – I will be on this drug until Dr B (and I) decide I shouldn’t be anymore – I suspect if it continues to work, it could easily be a year. I don’t love that. It sucks to have weekly treatments for those 3 weeks, and to feel crappy a LOT, but it’s awesome to be alive, so… I can and will handle it. And, the super good news is that he followed that statement with some of his thoughts on what is next for me, what is the maintenance that will work for me (Lynparza worked well previously), what new drugs are on the horizon to keep this beast at bay. He is thinking about my maintenance plan. He believes I will get back to maintenance with this treatment. That is great to hear from him. And it gives me some peace on the days when I forget to stop being afraid of what’s next, when I forget to stop being afraid of the future, when I need to remember to live in today. So live in today my friends. It’s all we really know.