Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CT scan results


I have to get a PET scan as soon as I return from Christmas break. The CT showed spots, but Dr. K can't tell if they are alive or dead. Or inflamed from my recent surgery. Here's a snippet from an email I sent earlier, since I don't feel like rewriting it. It's choppy, but you'll get the general idea:

"(The CT scan showed) that little tumor area on the liver bile duct. (This is the one that they found during my surgery, the one where he shaved off as much as he could. I think I have a few milimeters left in there.) That's not to say it's bigger or anything, just that it's there. They've seen it in the past. He thinks it could be inflamed from the surgery.

The lung spot I have had shows no real change. He can't tell if it's dead or alive. It's very small. PET needed here to show what's going on. 

Then, i have a few nodes next to my lung-- he calls them chest nodes. Those were there before, but he says they appear "inflamed". Which is to say, I suppose, maybe a little bigger. But he is wondering if they are inflamed from the surgery i recently had. I asked him if that was truly a possibility and he said it was." 
So. I have to get a PET scan to gain conclusive insight about all these spots. In theory, all could be well. Also, in theory, the cancer could be stable. Also, it could be growing ever-so-slightly. Good, not as good, or not good.

It looks like I'll probably have to start chemo again in Jan. If the spots are indeed growing, I'll need to switch to a different chemo, because this one (FOLFOX) is no longer working. (Aww! After 9 months of it + 15 more months of it? At this point, it's like an old friend.)

And how am I doing with all this? You know, if it were just ME I had to worry about, I'd be ok. I'd just roll up my sleeves, cuss at the sky and grit my teeth, ready to do more exhausting, all-consuming, sick-making, inhumane work. All of this, with Neil by my side, my unflaggingly devoted spouse. BUT THE KIDS... the kids. Add them into the mix and I can't help but feel this dagger in my soul. They are so sweet, innocent, lovely, needy, YOUNG, and wonderful. They need their mama desperately, and maddeningly, for all the things I've accomplished in my life, I cannot provide the simple yet vital guarantee that mama is always going to be here. It makes me feel desperate, extremely frustrated, terrified, and sad beyond words. 

But. When I get to that point, I calmly remind myself that I am not going to die within the next year at LEAST, and for now, that's going to have to be enough. Then I can exhale a bit, and resume the status quo, more or less.

Truth is, the scan might not be bad at all. Or not all bad, at least. At this point, I may as well just try to forget about forecasting the future because, oh yeah, I can't.

Instead, what I need to do is take that news and go have myself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 


  1. Shelly, you are extraordinary. I wish I was headed to OH and could give you what Gus calls a "big hug". Love you!

  2. Many hugs from Hong Kong. You are extraordinary. Sorry for being radio silent for so long. We are thinking of you and yours and wishing you well.

    Tom, Caroline (& Audrey, Ava and Arden)

  3. You always write with such clarity and express your feelings in such an honest way, Shelly. Thank you for including us all in your story. You are doing so well and your friends and family are so very proud of you. Have a wonderful holiday. Thinking of you always. -S Beazley

  4. Oh Shelly, it broke my heart to look at these words you wrote just shy of a year ago. Rest in Peace.
    When I get to that point, I calmly remind myself that I am not going to die within the next year at LEAST, and for now, that's going to have to be enough.