Mid-Treatment PET Scan

I had a PET scan on Tuesday and have been waiting on pins and needles for the results. Today was chemo day so I drove myself down to the hospital after spending the night at the Noug’s place (which has become my pre-chemo jitters ritual). I stopped on the way down to eat and hydrate before chemo (in the form of a McDonald’s McMuffin and orange juice because fake food is just what I should be putting into my body before dumping it with poison), then got distracted by the new McDonalds coffee creations. Word of advice: McDonald’s iced mocha is pretty gross. But it also amped me up in a way that was probably not helpful before going to hear my scan results.

I got to the hospital early so rather than wait around and stress myself out more, I headed down to the resource room to put up some i[2]y Boston fliers that Matthew Zachary, CEO and Founder of the I’m Too Young for This! Cancer Foundation, made up for us. Thanks! I talked to the woman in the check in and mentioned it, plus rearranged the wall of fliers so that both the i[2]y Boston and the smaller but much more official and glossy i[2]y fliers were smack dab at eye level instead of squished up in some corner.

At that point, my NP was ready for me so I went in. She greeted me with a big smile and exclaimed, “Good news!” The first words out of my mouth were, “A clean scan?” to which she replied, “Well no, not exactly…”

However, mostly clean is perhaps a better word for it. All of my nodes have shrunk and the SUV uptake dropped dramatically. She can’t really say how that impacts my treatment versus a completely clean scan because my onc couldn’t meet with me, but we suspect I am still on course for 4 more months of chemo. Now I’m getting scheduled for an echocardiogram to make sure the chemo isn’t causing any cardiac damage and I’ll keep chugging along with treatments.

Natalie, my NP, is fantastic and now appreciates that since I am not as overwhelmed as when I was first diagnosed, I want print outs and explanations of everything. Now that I know there is reduction both in the size and “intensity” of my disease, I feel comfortable in removing the veil of ignorance and diving into all the nitty gritties.

So I looked at my initial scan results. Yup, a good thing I didn’t read it in the first place.

A) When I was staged, my onc told me that I had “some suspicious bone involvement”. What he did not tell me was that meant there was widespread uptake on the PET scan on my spine, pelvic bone, femurs, and humeri. That’s frankly terrifying and means I had cancer from my knees to my neck and down to my elbows. Luckily I didn’t know the extent and its now gone with no sign of involvement there.

B) Not to mention a mass with an SUV of 13 (“normal” is less than 1) in my chest. My nodes around my collar bone, in my armpit, down my esophagus, and in my pelvis all had an SUV uptake of between 6 and 7. They’re all now under 2 which is considered below neoplastic consideration.

So, not quite the glorious no evidence of disease label yet, but it shows that the chemo is working and that in of itself is a relief.

In other, only  vaguely cancer related news:

He definitely needs a name. And he's a he.

I got a car last weekend (2011 blue Honda Civic) so I’ve been trying to relearn to drive. It’s really trial by fire- particularly since I learned to drive in the outer suburbs of Atlanta (and spent most of my time driving in fairly rural areas) and living in Massachusetts, especially Camberville, is particularly scary. Until I drove off the lot, I hadn’t been behind the wheel in about 5 years.

To go from work to Noug’s apartment, the quickest way is to drive through Harvard Square. My GPS sent me through during rush hour, with torrential rain, pedestrians darting out without looking, massive construction, and cyclists from hell. I’m developing quite the nerves of steel and the mouth of a Yiddish sailor.

Thus far I haven’t really had to do any real parallel parking. This weekend will be the real test. I am attending a Fancy Dress party at my friends’ apartment (Treacle Mine Road <3). Yes, this means dresses that are fancy and not a British costume party (luckily someone pointed that out or I would have been the fanciest purple crayon in the joint). Having the car is helpful because that means I can leave when I feel tired and not be dependent on someone else getting me home when is convenient for them. However, parking is a bit tougher in that end of town so I might have to for real parallel park. This could be an adventure.

Hope everyone is enjoying a nice start to spring (unless you are an Aussie or Sam, and then you’re probably happy that it’s cooling off!) and summer is just around the corner!

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Posted in Personal Stuff, Treatment

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