Take Two - Good But Waiting
Monday, January 16, 2012
Some may have noticed that Iíve been somewhat absent from SP, for a while. While I kept up with the two teams Iím leader on, I only posted elsewhere occasionally.
Well, since November life has been a bit more challenging. While doing a half marathon on November 5, I ended up with major blisters on both feet. This took me out of walking totally for a long time. I missed my next and final half of the year, and all the 5Ks I would normally do here at home during November and December, because the chemo I was on prevented the blisters from healing in their usual quick manner.
On top of the blisters I caught the Colorado Crud... a viral upper respiratory infection that I have only recently gotten over, with the exception of a lingering cough. Something else that kept me away from walking.
I had my final chemo infusion at the end of November. This was my hardest cycle yet, what with the crud and blisters added to the worst side effects I had throughout the entire lymphoma treatment. This cycle brought on a UTI and the shingles along with more nausea and GERD than in the past cycles.
Late December I had my post chemo PET\CT scan. I went to my next doctor appointment believing that everything was done... the lymphoma would be in total remission and I would be getting out my port before the start of the new year. But the universe decided to play another cruel trick on me. There was a new area of uptake (glowy bits) in the lymph nodes under my left arm. There was immediate talk of biopsy. Then the fact that I was currently fighting shingles and they were on my left bicep came up. Could this be the cause? While it was decided that the shingles could very well be the cause, my oncologist decided that I needed to get a mammogram just to be certain because it could be from BREAST CANCER. Ok, my brain goes numb at this point. Iím told they donít expect to find anything, itís just a precaution. So I go home and schedule my mammo and an ultrasound of the lymph nodes in my left armpit.
Tuesday the 27th comes and I head in for the tests. The ultrasound of my armpit showed nothing of concern in the lymph nodes. The mammo on the other hand did. Time to schedule a core biopsy. They donít expect to find anything, itís just a precaution.
So I go home and leave a message with the hospital radiology unit about scheduling it. Then I get a call from the radiologist who read my mammo films and he wants me to come back for additional films of another area. So I end up back at the imaging center the next day for more films (a total of 12 on the left, yes ladies you can groan now) and another ultrasound of the breast. The radiologist decides that new area is ok, and I just need to biopsy the original area of concern.
So, the biopsy is set up for January 3. I get the results on Friday the 6th. They see more items of concern, something that could be nothing or it could be the beginning of cancer. I need to schedule a surgical excisional biopsy (aka lumpectomy). They donít expect to find anything, itís just a precaution.
I meet with the surgeon on the 9th and surgery is set for the 11th.
While everyone is telling me that I have to believe everything is going to be alright, I canít do this. Iíve been told constantly that they donít expect to find anything, itís just a precaution, too many times.
The day after the surgery, I go to see my oncologist for a scheduled appointment. During the last one all the focus was on the new area of uptake and getting the mammo and ultrasound. No mention of the original lymphoma.
The first thing he asks is when I plan on having the excision? I tell him, ďYesterday. Yes, I had the surgery the day before. I add that I had hoped my next visit to the surgeon would have been to have the port removed.Ē He tells me he wonít have the results until Monday. This I already know. Finally, he addresses the lymphoma. I am in total remission and we are done with it. Finally some GOOD news and I think yea I can get the port out soon. Then the ďbutĒ comes. But he wonít have my port removed until after my next PET/CT in April. He wants to know that the new area of uptake is gone. I understand the reasoning, but to me that says we are not done, yet. This also now puts the proverbial final nail in coffin of my hoped for trip to Europe in April - I had already come to believe that it probably wouldnít happen, especially if the biopsy isnít in my favor.
Today is Monday, January 16, and I called my oncologist at 7:30 a.m. to get the results of my biopsy, as instructed. He hasnít seen it, but looks it up online. It has come back clean, no cause for concern. He tells me to go celebrate. I canít yet.
Yes, Iím relieved, but still feel that things wonít be DONE until my PET/CT comes back clear and I get the port removed. Only then can I celebrate.
So, Iíve gotten good news, but Iím still waiting.