So, lots of good news last week (or, now, the week before last since I’ve been dragging my feet on finishing this post…)! MRI (spine and abdomen) and CT (chest) scans were all clear of any advanced disease…no new lesions, the previous ‘indeterminate’ spot(s) they were worried about are unchanged (and do not look cancerous, perhaps were nothing all along), and the main tumor they hit with radiation is responding. OMG WHEW WHAT A RELIEF LET’S PARTY! There is one small area of the tumor that looks as if it could still be potentially viable, but my radiation oncologist is confident it’s just a matter of waiting for the radiation to keep doing its job. We’ll do another MRI in six weeks to ensure the tumor regression continues.
But then I met with my medical oncologist and, wouldn’t you know it…more good news! For starters, we’re going to hold off on any systemic treatment minimally until after the next MRI, and possibly longer. Since there is no active tumor, we all agree that pumping my body full of toxins without knowing if there is anything to treat seems unwarranted. Plus, I’m not eligible for any clinical trials because I don’t have current measurable disease, so the treatment options are more limited. A couple weeks ago I brought up the idea of a second opinion with a metaplastic specialist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, just to cover all the bases and make sure we have access to the most recent info and options, and my onc is encouraging me to pursue that consultation. Hopefully we can get insurance to cover it (otherwise up to $5k out of pocket for them to review my case and get an office visit, which doesn’t include airfare/lodging/etc.), but the peace of mind it would bring is priceless, whether we do it now or down the road. Continuing with the good news trend: no more evidence of that pesky portal vein thrombosis (they are thinking maybe it never was…but I don’t care because no more gd mf-ing abdominal injections!). No more bruising that made it look like someone was punching me in the gut on a regular basis, no more wasted time icing/injecting/icing twice a day, and I can wear real pants with waistbands without pain (though I was really working the sweat/yoga pant thing…).
So, bigly relief on multiple levels. Still battling some abdominal discomfort and nausea (to be expected as my liver and surrounding areas recover from rads), back pain (turns out it’s arthritis and a bulging disc that have been causing me issues these past few months, but not abnormal for a person of my age…hmmmppf!), and fatigue (it’s an old friend at this point, the ass dragging…but there are days here and there where I feel that old spring in my step, an ass lift if you will, so I just keep truckin’). My mental state is far improved over the low point a few months ago, but that dang anxiety seems to be creeping its way back in…that creeper bitch! Working almost full time, when medical appointments and related dealings allow. I find my job rewarding on many levels and good to feel as though I’m contributing, but can also be rather stressful, so finding the balance there is an ongoing process.
I continue to be the grateful recipient of many kind words, deeds, and gifts. I owe lots of thank you cards, email responses, and acknowledgements to folks that have held me/us up throughout all of this and continue to provide much needed support. I am humbled by your thoughtfulness and generosity, but don’t always have the time/energy to tell you each individually (and it drives me nuts because it makes me feel like I’m being ungrateful…but I want you to know YOU ARE LOVED RIGHT BACK!). I probably won’t set up the Helping Hands site for help with chores/errands/food until we know more about the next phase of treatment, but could definitely use some help transitioning from Palomino to Segoe over the next couple of months as we make the move back home ❤ ❤ ❤
Oh, and teal happened: