Words from the big chair #6

Ok, so this isn’t really number 6 for me. Its actually #9. Which means I have 3 more chemo sessions left. Which makes me feel good.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been taking steps to get my mind back in touch with my body. For awhile there, I was so caught up in looking at the future that I stopped taking care of the present. I had to re-focus myself that ‘getting better’ and healing is my job these days and everything else will work itself out in time.

All of this was probably exacerbated by my PET scan I had this week.

The results are very good – not perfect, but I knew I’d have more challenges down the road.

My upper chest, throat, abdomen and surrounding organs are all cancer free. The tumor has shrunk down from 16cm to probably something about the size of an orange. So the treatments are working and things are getting better.

Unfortunately, the PET scan works by detecting high metabolic rates in the body – the sugar cells congregate around the cancer cells (which use the most energy) and that is how the doctors can detect the cancer cells. From the blockages in my vascular structure (veins), I have some ‘blood pooling’. This pooling can give signs that there may be cancer cells, or it may just be an area of high metabolic rate.

I think I’m getting the medical terminology right in all this. But the bottom line is – it is difficult to tell if I’m in full remission with blood pooling or if I still have some cancer cells floating around in the tumor. More tests and studies will be needed.

My next step is getting me prepared for radiation in November. The radiation might be a little tricky since my tumor is so big and is located close to the heart and lungs and trachea…but I’m not the first and I won’t be the last to get this procedure. We’re working hard to make sure I get the best radiologists possible.

Also, the blocking of my SVC (Superior Vena Cava) will have to be addressed – probably by a stent (a metal sheath that will hold my veins open). Hopefully, this can be done the same time they pull out my portacath.

What does all of this add up to? Getting there, one day at a time. Its nice to see all my remaining chemo sessions on one piece of paper. And its great to start focusing on the rest of the procedures that will get me back on my feet and out of this apartment for awhile.

Every day I put a little more fear behind me and a little more hope in front.

Thanks for following along.


7 responses to “Words from the big chair #6

  1. Ray (update - again)

    WordPress did it again!!!

    steve (greater than) fear
    fear (less than) hope
    steve (greater or equal to) hope

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  2. Steve & Jen,

    So glad to hear that things are looking up! We continue to think about you guys and to pray for a speedy recovery. You’ve been the picture of grace thus far, and I’m certain the next few months will be behind you before you know it.

    Happy weekend.

  3. Steve,
    Good news. You are always in our thoughts. It was good to see you last week. Looking forward to meeting your Dad too. You are in my prayers. With the Lord, nothing is impossible.
    Much love and muitos beijos,

  4. Great to hear the good news on the PET Scan! Must be fantastic to have some tangible signs that the chemo torture is all worth it. Thinking of you and your wife. Hang in there for the tail end of this ride …

  5. Forward progress is always good news! Glad to hear you being more up beat. Hang in there! I’ve got news from the big move (nothing exciting, just more incentive to save for a house) and I’ll try to give you a buzz Sunday. Take care, -M

  6. Happy to hear the good news from the PET scan and Im certain that you will find the right radiologist to take you through the radiation. Thank you for sharing your story with us. You and Jen are always in my thoughts and my prayers.

  7. Thinking of you. Gut says all signs are good. Looking forward to the blog that says TOTAL REMISSION! It feels that it’s not so far away and that makes us smile.

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