Friday, 20 January 2012

Oncology Results: January 18, 2012

First, thank you for all of your good wishes and prayers since my last post.  I am sure they helped.  And I am sorry to keep you waiting with this post, but I have been terribly drowsy for the last several weeks, to the point that I couldn't stay awake reading the morning newspaper or wait for the doctor's appointment.  During that point in time, my Sweetie posted for me.  You can see his summary on the Geoff Takes On blog, here.  Despite today being a chemo day, and me having slept most of the day, I'm feeling more energy this evening.  So, without further ado, here's my take on the oncology results we got on Wednesday:

The previous week, I had had two tests, an echocardiogram and an CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis.  I was worried that in the month or so when I didn't have chemo that my cancer might have spread.

First, the echocardiogram, nothing had changed since the one I had in the Spring for unrelated reasons.  My heart is good.  I have mild regurgitation in my mitral valve, but that doesn't seem enough to call it mitral valve prolapse.

And then there's the CT scan.  Geoff and I were holding our breath.  I don't know if I'd really given you a sense of the liver tumours I had.  This CT scan described them as "innumerable."  That's not great on its own, but the rest of the news is.  There were a couple of large tumours that had been measured last time.  One of them went from 4" by 3.6" down to 3" by 1".  That is a major change!  Another went from 1" down to 0.35".  In the words of the CT report, there is, "marked interval [since last test] improvement in hepatic [liver] metastases  consistent with partial response [to the chemo treatment]. No new metastatic disease is seen inter-abdominal [No mets in other abdominal organs]."

They also said that the fractured pubic bones are healing on both sides of the body.  And I had been told the break was only on one side.  I also learned there are fractured ribs; I can feel them, now that I know they are there.  That explains the shortness of breath.

I have to laugh at they way they write the report.  It's by body part or organ.  For example:

"Lungs:There is no interval development of bilateral subsegmental atelectasis [collapse of the lungs] with no consolidation or suspicious pulmonary nodules." In my own words: blah, blah, blah, no cancer in the lungs, yay!

"Heart: Grossly unremarkable. ..."  Hmm, I suspect some of you would disagree.  On the plus side, what it means is that there is no cancer in my heart, which is very good news.

I won't go into detail about the bone metastases, since the CT scan isn't the best test to measure them.  We know they're there and there are a lot of them.  'nuf said.

This is very good news for us.  Geoff was visibly relieved during the appointment, thank goodness.  Personally, I thank God for the good news.  I know the doctors did an awful lot: choosing the right chemo is important, as is radiating the right spots.  After that, prayer makes the difference in the end.  So thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.

My oncologist says there's good reason to be optimistic this disease can be managed for many, many years.  That's what we're looking for.  Many, many years.

p.s. Strangely, this CT didn't measure the breast lump.  Could it not see it?  We can't feel it.

6 comments:

  1. This is great news! I can't tell you how happy I am for you. I read all your posts and I can't help but marvel at how incredibly strong, brave and tenacious you are. But I think the most important thing that I've noticed is your great sense of humour in your dealings with what is a truly frightening scenario.

    I know we haven't seen each other in such a long time but I still regard you as a great person and a wonderful friend. Good for you for telling cancer where it could go and find itself. Love you lots xxx

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  2. Thanks Cynthia, but this is just me. You know as well as I do that you don't always get dealt the cards you expect. But strength, braveness (is that a word?), tenacity and humour get you through it until it's just life and not so scary after all. That's what I'm aiming at, because this is what I have to deal with for the rest of my life, which I still hope will be a long time.

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  3. Chemo once a week now? Yeeeuuch. I gotta say, I didn't mind the mastecomy surgery, I didn't like, but didn't mind the radiation either... the picc line was a pain butsorta cool and much better than the alternative... but chemo? The metallic taste and blurrrrr.
    i hated chemo
    i hated chemo
    i hated chemo
    my heart goes out to you
    Happily, chemo does end. There IS a light at the end of that tunnel.
    please, please, please, please, if there is anything you ever need... I'm right across the street.
    Love hugs and kisses... Lucia

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  4. Kathryn....sheer proof what an amazing attitude can make happen. Thank you for the beautiful, honest posts. Let's keep the prayers going.

    Geoff is also a talented writer.

    Sonia

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  5. Hi Katherine,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I am truly happy with the recent test results. I really like your posts. I +1'd your blog because I think it is important to increase awareness. My thoughts and prayer are with you.

    Daphne

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  6. Hi, I am a friend of Sam's. I read your blog and admire your courage and strength. I thank you for making people see the reality and the importance of self checking. You are in my thoughts and prayers; good luck!
    Corrie Radlo

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