Since I found out I was positive for the ALK mutation, I have done some reading on the available treatments and medications and had formulated my on thoughts on treatment. I read about a new drug called alectinib that has shown great promise for patients with ALK mutations. Although the drug had only recently been approved for primary treatment in November 2017, it has been used as a secondary treatment option for years and outperformed the other targeted drug for ALK by over two-fold.
Now that all the test results have come in, we took a trip to Charlottesville to visit a thoracic oncologist at the UVA Cancer Center. Anyone who knows me and Varisara know that we are Hokie proud so we were entering enemy territory by going to UVA, but this doctor came highly recommended by the general oncologist I’ve been seeing at St. Mary’s. After speaking with him for a few minutes, I knew that he was going to be a great doctor for me. He seemed passionate about his field and excited with what was on the horizon. After about an hour of discussion about various treatments we finally decided on alectinib as the treatment to begin with. I was ecstatic that I would be able to take a few pills a day as opposed to getting IV chemotherapy.
We decided on a treatment plan in which I would stay at St. Mary’s for maintenance visits so I would only have to drive up to Charlottesville every few months for check-ins. He ordered the prescription for alectinib and sent me to get a CT scan before leaving Charlottesville to make sure they have a good baseline to monitor progress. I have a follow-up appointment in mid-March for my first check-in to see how my body reacts to the medication. *Fingers crossed*