Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reason #4827 to live long and prosper

From a conversation tonight at dinner with my 4-year old daughter:

Me: "Betty, are you ever going to get married?"

Betty: "No."

Me: "Ok. Why not?"

Betty, looking right into my eyes: "So I can always live with you."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not bad news...

I literally have about 5 minutes to write, so I'll update you quickly now, then more fully later.

Bottom line is: the ultrasound was inconclusive, which isn't bad. They saw the area in my liver that the PET scan noticed, but it was very faint and hard to find. It's in an area of my liver that's too hard to biopsy, so my oncologist has advised us simply to wait til my next PET scan (3 months or so) and we'll see if the spot has changed or grown in any way.

I forced him to give me some numbers and he felt there could be a 75% chance it's just scar tissue.

In my favor: they've seen the spot before in several PET scans, so it isn't new and hasn't grown. The only reason we are talking about it is that in this last PET scan, it lit up (although only faintly). Perhaps in my next PET scan, it won't light up at all anymore.

If it DOES turn out to be cancer, we caught it very early and it won't have grown much by the next PET scan.

I should also point out that my doc is very conservative and very aggressive. He's being pretty calm about this, so-- so am I.

With all these facts-- I DON'T THINK IT IS CANCER. I feel like I'm still in remission, and I plan to celebrate this holiday season accordingly!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The waiting game

My ultrasound is scheduled for Wednesday at 10am.

It's a funny thing, when you are receiving big news during Thanksgiving week. You link the two very directly.

If it's good news, YOU GIVE THANKS DOUBLY HARD. "To hear this now, of all weeks!"
If it's bad news, you sort of stew over the irony of it all. You probably feel a little extra sorry for yourself. "To hear this now, of all weeks!"

So, on Wednesday, I have to fast. On Thursday, I stuff my face. On Friday I will probably get really drunk. On Saturday I'll be sick. On Sunday I'll go to church. By Monday, I'll be locked up, and everyone will be unfriending me on Facebook.

I don't know what it means, either.

For the record, I'm doing fine. (At least I feel that way as I write this.) This could be just a scare. If it's not, they caught it early, right? Nothing a little chemo can't kill. We'll be back in business by mid-2011. Not to sound blase, but how else are you supposed to process this kind of thing?

And: I do have a ton to be thankful for. More than most people I know. I mean, my God, look at me a year ago! I was practically dead. Today I feel amazing: strong, peppy, alive! I swam a mile with Neil last night, and it felt really good to get back in the water. (even though I was getting passed by a woman whose suit had a molded shelf bra... ok, I'm out of shape.)

Today Seattle is covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. My brother is in town, my parents arrive on Thursday. It's going to be okay.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

They found something

I'll keep this short and sweet until I have more information. The doctor called me at 8:30 last night to tell me that my PET scan showed a spot on my liver, right at the same site where the metastasized tumor once lived. It's a small spot, and he doesn't know what it is. An ultrasound is planned for early next week (not scheduled yet) to learn more definitively if it's cancer.

I asked him how worried he was and he said, "medium".

It COULD be scar tissue.

It could be a false positive, like I had on my last PET scan in August. The difference is that, last time I wasn't worried. A positive area made no sense then. I was still doing chemo, and the chemo was WORKING. Why would there have been a new growth? And as it turned out, there wasn't.

This time, however, I'm not on chemo anymore. Just Avastin.

I'm not going to lie. I've already shed a few tears about this news. I've felt every emotion imaginable, from fear to terror to dread to sorrow to anger to despair to fatigue to depression to anxiety --- to a sense of resolve that I can and will overcome this, if it's indeed bad news, and that I'll get my old game face back out of the dusty depths of my closet where I placed it a few weeks ago, back when I started to believe that this was really all over. Back when I once again started to live like a normal 36-year old, making plans with friends, planning trips, and having tons of energy to shower all over my kids. I am NOT ready to surrender my renewed energy and sense of hope.

I am PRAYING that this does not turn out to be cancer. I don't know if I can handle this rollercoaster hellride again.

But the truth is, if it turns out to be cancer, I KNOW I'll put up a crazy fight, once again, and for one simple reason:


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hoping for 5 months cancer-free

In case you are wondering what my next steps are, I have a PET scan this Friday morning. If it's clear, I'll have been in remission for FIVE months. Baby steps, baby steps.

Am I nervous/scared? I'm trying not to think about it too much. I think it's going to be clear. I hope. God, I hope.

I don't think I'll really be able to exhale and totally relax til about 5 years pass without recurrence. But that's a ways off, so I'm just trying really hard to be grateful for each day that passes.

I've been done with chemo now for about 8 weeks. I have tons more energy. I'm occasionally bowled over by how lucky I've been, and other times I freeze up with fear about it coming back. I kind of feel like I just returned from a war and am slowly processing all that has happened. I think I have mild PTSD. But in general, I feel a little more normal each day.

As far as medicine goes, I still get bi-weekly Avastan injections for a full year. It's relatively quick (30 min) and has practically no side effects. Well... relative to chemo, that is. I still have high blood pressure and occasional bloody noses. A walk in the park.

So there's the quick status check. I'll let you know how things turn out. CROSS FINGERS, TOES, EYES, ETC.