Well, today’s blog title covers a lot of ground. Some good, some not so good. But like any good writer (although I see myself as more of a pretender), I’ll leave you hanging. So here we go:
This morning (Fri) was the PET scan which involved injecting me with some radioactive sugar-juice. I had to hang around resting for a half hour while the magic potion coursed through my body, the better to light up the scan and show any areas of active cells. I was joking with the technician about showing up on a Geiger counter. The next thing I knew he had pulled one out, passed it over my body, and it chirped like I had just left Chernobyl. Hard to believe that this was not bad for me but he explained it in terms of half-lives and rate of decay, neither phrase eliciting a bunch of positive thoughts in my head. And when they had to take me to a special, what I thought was lead-lined, restroom, to take a leak before they started the scan, I was really wondering. I was SO tempted to turn off the lights to see if my stream lit up the room, but for some reason I resisted. If I had it to do over again….Nah, I guess I wouldn’t.
So the scan was painless and inconsequential, except for the fact that because my jeans had a zipper and would mess up the scan, I had to pull them down below my knees. Hey, at least they let me keep them on instead of donning one of the those butt-crack gowns. I suspect that I will have to relegate any modesty I have left to the back burner for the rest of this journey. Meh.
They scanned and scanned and scanned but alas, no sign of my cat. Bummer. But they did find some other “stuff.” One of the good things that the scan showed was lots of activity in my brain. I guess this type of scan is not that good for pinpointing problem areas in your brain. But the fact that I had lots of activity up there at the time at least tells me I’m not as much of an airhead as I thought. Maybe during the scan I was dreaming about…er, never-mind. 🙂
Went to lunch right afterwards since I hadn’t eaten all morning and the day before I had to be carb-free, very difficult for a carbivore like me. During lunch my phone vibrated and I intentionally didn’t answer it because I had an inkling who/what it was, and didn’t want to ruin the lunch. But after lunch I listened to the voice mail which was from my pulmonary doc who had been waiting on edge to get the results of the PET scan. Her voice mail said to call her right away as she had the results of my scan and needed to talk to me urgently. OK, even my very positive attitude could not talk my head into believing she was calling with good news. She even left her personal cell phone number – not a good sign. When I called her she said the scan showed the large mass in my right lung having expanded to the point where it has now caused a partial collapse of my lung. That explained the more recent tightening I’ve felt and the slight lump in my throat. A couple other new spots lit up on the scan as well, one in my sacrum and one on my lumbar spine. Just call me a Christmas tree.
The rest of the fast and furious day was from all of the phone calls made and received. And lots of things happening this coming week, especially since there is now even more a sense of urgency. Because the mass in my lung is now a more immediate concern, my radiologist is seeing me Monday to map out the area of my lung to radiate if it’s determined that is something that needs done as a short term treatment to shrink that mass. At least they will be ready to go. Tuesday I finally have the appointment with the specialist at UCSD that will tell me if I am eligible for any clinical trials, and if so, whether any other treatments being proposed (radiation and oral medication) would conflict with a trial. Whatever the outcome of that meeting, I should be starting treatment of some kind this week. On Thursday I have another MRI of my brain, this time a more detailed version that will allow pinpoint radiation therapy to nail that sucker upstairs.
In all of this, the good news is that I appear to be an excellent candidate for the oral medication, Tarceva, which will attack/reduce the cancer cells in my lung as well as the two new hotspots the scan discovered. My uncle, er, oncologist, has submitted the paperwork to get that particular drug which is very specialized and has to be obtained through a special process and lab. He is also ordering Zometa, a drug that helps strengthen my bones since cancer has a tendency of weakening them. I was kinda hoping for a prescription of cannabis but I guess that may come later.
I have had an incredible outpouring of support from every walk of life. I’ll borrow a quote from Sally Fields: “You like me. You really like me.” 🙂 Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts, prayers and good wishes. You are amazing!
Business as usual. Day at a time.