Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hope Springs Eternal

It's the first Tuesday of the new year and I am certainly feeling fine. Those of you checking in here are probably waiting for the results from last week's PET scan. The results pretty much look like the results from the scan three months ago. And that is a very good thing.

The last three scans have shown increasing uptake in the right and left hilum lymph nodes in my lungs. As the metastases progression was in the lungs, this is concerning. Last June was when the activity in the right hilum was notably increased (doubled) into the four point range. The two point range being normal for a reactive lymph node. "Reactive" merely meaning a node that is reacting to some sort of inflammation, infection or otherwise. At that time I had a biopsy of the right hilum and nearby nodes, all of which showed benign. (Yay!) However, we did escalate my PET schedule to every three months to keep a close eye on things.

My October scan showed another doubling in the right hilum, as well as the left hilum moving into the three point range. This most recent scan shows the right hilum with a very small increase from 8.2 to 8.9. The left decreased to 2.9. Cancer doesn't usually sit still. So these results show us that these are probably just reactive nodes and, other than keeping close scrutiny on them, we shouldn't find them alarming. They're keeping me on the three month PET schedule for now. So there will be yet another opportunity to try for radioactive super powers in March.

I was rather anxious about the results this week. As much as I am a true optimist, I battle with the dark shadow of cancer recurrence across my mind and heart. And I was not feeling optimistic about my appointment yesterday. It has taken me a while to come to terms with the results. Which might sound odd considering the good news. But I was expecting bad news and have had to make a u-turn in my mind. Now I am beginning to allow myself to think that maybe cancer is actually behind me. For the first time since this all started I am feeling the shadow of cancer and death lighten. Would it be too much to hope that we actually cured it? I've talked about the "long tail" and the 2% as being loads of people, and that I could be one of those people. But I never really believed it deep down. I think maybe I could believe it now. It feels like a very large step forward.