My Story, Part 3

When 9 out of 10 Doctors Tell You You're Dead, You are Supposed to Lie Down - Jan 2017

A PET scan was scheduled to coincide with my last radiation. Up to that point, I dealt with the radiation oncologists for radiation and the thoracic (lung) oncologist for the chemo. My radiation oncologist just happened to be in line to be the number 2 guy in the entire organization. Great guy, who told me he had good news and bad news. The good news was that the chemo and radiation had done their job in my Left Lung (which was amazing considering the size of the tumor there). The bad news was that my PET lit up like a Christmas Tree from head to toe. The cancer had spread to my neck, my Right Lung, my stomach, my liver, my bladder, my pancreas and my tail bone. Dozens of tumors.

I know how to use Google. And I knew, for starters, that small cell lung cancer was bad news with very low success rates. And FURTHER, I knew exactly what it meant when SCLC metastasized that far afield in so many locations.

So he didn't have to tell me what it meant, I cited the statistics to him as he nodded approval with a grim face. The numbers are simple. <1% survivability and a median/mean life expectancy of 3 months. He confirmed that my numbers were correct.

But unlike the local oncologist that said I was going to die before I even started, he then went on:

"Joe, we are not going to give up. There are some other things we want to try and I'd like you to go see your thoracic oncologist this afternoon to discuss them"

So I laughed and said, "You guys are good.....really good!!!! have a way of telling me my odds are 0% and there is no hope....but then you somehow give me hope......and I am prewired for hope, so I'm all good"

My thoracic oncologist told me he could put me in a clinical trial that "Would NOT save my life, but the best case scenario might extend my life by a year...or so"

A year (or so) sounds a lot better than 3 months, so I said "Let's go for it"

7/22/ 2020 UPDATE NOTE: My radiation oncologist mentioned above was none other than Dr. Stephen Hahn, who is now the Commissioner of the FDA. Truth is stranger than fiction

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