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.