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Inconclusive scan results. What’s a girl to do?

May 20, 2010

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=question+mark&iid=5216803″ src=”0/d/0/7/Question_Mark_Maze_56e2.jpg?adImageId=12932272&imageId=5216803″ width=”234″ height=”304″ /]The CT of my torso is good in some ways and inconclusive in others, so some time next week I’m going to get a PET scan of the same area, which can clarify or confuse more. Oh well!

Specifically the original lesion in my lung is stable, but some “satellite nodules” adjacent to it have increased in size and there’s an ill-defined “ground glass opacity” adjacent to the original lesion. This is all radiologist speak and they say it could be an “inflammatory process,” meaning an infection or more cancer, but they don’t know. Thus the need to clarify.

There is no sign of cancer elsewhere in my torso, which is great news. Of course, the PET scan could always pick up something the CT missed. I’m a little iffy about this many scans and this much radiation in a week’s time, but we do need to clarify.

Should it prove that the cancer is growing, then one conclusion is that the chemo has not been working. Chemo works when cancer cells absorb the poison. Since I have “couch potato cancer” (thanks, Scott) it can take several months to find out if it’s absorbing the chemo and shrinking. Unfortunately, there’s really no way today to test a cancer cell to see what will kill it, so often you have to try one thing after another to see what works. With fast-growing cancer you can figure that out in a month or two. With CP (for short) cancer, the process is much much longer.

Should it prove that the chemo is not working, then it means my chemo-weakened body has been fighting the cancer by itself since last August, with a little help from the gamma knife for my brain and all the good supplements from the naturopath.  I find that an encouraging thought.

There will be lots of decisions to make after the PET results. Right now I’m inclined to have the lung surgery we put off last August. It makes sense to me to get the thing out of there and decrease my tumor load. We also discussed today my taking a break from chemo next week also and possibly talking with a thoracic surgeon about the lung surgery. I’ll need to be off the chemo (abraxane) for three weeks and the biologic (avastin) for six weeks to reduce risk in surgery.

One thing that troubles me about the avastin are some publications showing that it might change CP cancer to aggressive cancer when you go off it. The doctor says he hasn’t seen that happen, but it still concerns me.

There’s  also a possibility that I could be eligible for some clinical trials. I emphasized to the doctor that I’d like to make the next steps something I can live with — in other words something that allows me to resume normal life. He’s going to a national conference next week in which all the oncologists get together and discuss the latest and the greatest, so that’s well-timed. He said he’d bring my case up there and bend a few ears for ideas. He’s a nice person.

But all this is speculation right now. We  just won’t know any more until next week, which will be yet another week of scans and doctor’s visits.

So, there we are — in a bit in limbo. I’m really proud of my battered old body for holding up to this stuff so well. It gives me hope that I’ll manage to forge through and kill this fat old couch potato before he kills me. We shall see!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    May 20, 2010 9:06 pm

    Continued prayers and positive thoughts.

    Ellen

  2. May 21, 2010 10:02 am

    I hate inconclusive, but you have some good advocates working with you, and a strong enough constitution to withstand all the poison. I concur with removing the involved piece of lung — I’ve always wanted anything iffy inside of me removed right away. Don’t give the couch potato a couch to sit on. 🙂

  3. mom permalink
    May 21, 2010 9:08 pm

    How are things in Glockamora today? I did read the messages in your Blog and cannot wait to put my healing hands on you and to hug you. You know there are several people who will be with you all the time, healing and praying you through this: May I name a few? Dad, G & G Thorson, Aunt Jen, your sisters and brothers, Mom. We all love you and wish you the best of everything, even my newest addition to this family, the garden snakes. No one dare touch them now! Prayers and hugs for you and your family, especially you, my dear. Mom

  4. E Lis permalink
    May 22, 2010 6:27 am

    Continued prayers, good thoughts, (((HUGS))) and healing white light!

  5. Sarahtee permalink
    May 22, 2010 9:20 pm

    Yay for nice doctors who can bend ears and consult with peers! I hope the PET scan reveals some good news and you are not in limbo for long. Thinking of you Jill, and praying the couch potato cancer will pack up and leave so you can resume normal life very shortly,

    Sarahtee xxx

  6. mom permalink
    May 23, 2010 1:07 pm

    live for today. Mom

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