I’ve written before about Programmed Death Ligand -1 and the immunotherapy my oncologist recommended. Apparently, the drug she wanted to use for immunotherapy (Imfinzi (generic name, Durvalumab), which would be administered once every two weeks for a year, is very pricey. Its use has been approved for patients who have Stage 3 lung cancer and who have been treated with both chemotherapy and radiation. BUT, it has not been used (or, perhaps, approved) for patients who have had surgery to remove the cancer. That rules me out. But the doctor tried, anyway, to get insurance approval to do the immunotherapy. Her application was rejected because I don’t meet all the criteria. I am actually relieved. I did not want to go to her office every two weeks for a one-hour drug therapy session. So, now I won’t have to. Of course, the absence of the immunotherapy means I won’t be getting treatment that could (theoretically) reduce the chances of a recurrence of my cancer. But that’s life. Or, rather, that’s Programmed Death. Couldn’t they have come up with a less sinister-sounding name for the genetic coding (or whatever it is)?
So, for the immediate future, the only engagements related to my cancer (the absence of which in my body has been confirmed, to the extent confirmation is available) will be periodic monitoring and periodic blood work. I’m crossing my fingers and toes in the hope that I am among the patients diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer that survive for many, many years. One of the frightening aspects of lung cancer is that, even after it has been “defeated,” it tends to recur. Apparently, that’s more true of lung cancer than other cancers, although I’ll admit the avalanche of competing and conflicting data on the subject is almost overwhelming and impossible for me to fully grasp.
Although I’m glad that I won’t have to schedule my life around immunotherapy treatments, I’m not thrilled that I’m missing out on a potentially (theoretically) valuable maintenance treatment. But, as I said, that’s the way it goes—that’s life—it is what it is—that’s the way the ball bounces—c’est la vie—that’s the way the cookie crumbles—that’s the way the marshmallow melts.