Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Wonderful News...and the Bummer

Alright, here it is. The scan looked good over all, but there are some new areas "of concern". The cancer was on the left side of my chest and was pretty big (9cm x 12cm). That is gone. That's right...adios! Virtually no activity in that area! How wonderful. What a miracle! So lets bask in that for a moment.....(still basking)....... I am frustrated that the Dr's focus right now is the "inconclusive" part and not that the mass that was thriving and growing in my chest has been stopped. I am so happy! All of our prayers have been answered. Thank you Heavenly Father.

Now for the part that is more on the bummer side. There is a new spot on the right side....actually two spots. Something is showing up by my right collar bone (very small, about 1.6cm) and another next to the right side of my heart (unsure on size). So that's why they want more imaging I guess. To get a different view of those areas.

It is not an emergency or anything that seems like it needs immediate attention, so I am going to get a second opinion on the scan and take it to another radiologist. Then depending on what the results of that is I will decide what kind of further imaging to do if we really need it.

So there it is. The wonderful news and the bummer. I see no reason to focus on the bummer though. I will certainly follow up on it, and work with my Dr, but can we just enjoy the healing miracle that has happened inside of me so far? All of you that have sent up your petitions to our Heavenly Father, can you please say a prayer of thanks to Him in my behalf? He is a loving Father and we should express our greatest gratitude for his mercy. I still have more to learn as my journey continues on, but I know I'm not alone.

Monday, May 16, 2011

PET Scan Results

Come in! Take a seat. Doesn't that chair look comfy? Lets take a look into PET scan land....yay...(dripping sarcasm). Nothing is particularly terrible about having a PET scan done, it's just not my favorite thing to do for a couple of reasons. My Dr is in Scottsdale, so is the imaging place they use (I live and hour from Scottsdale), the scan process itself takes an hour and a half, and lastly I have to avoid pregnant women and children under the age of 12 for 6 hours after because I'm know that sounds like fun! Hehehe...I'm being silly. I'm so glad for this test and grateful for this technology, but you will understand my slight bitterness later on in this post.

***I will get to the results, I promise, but maybe you can get a better understanding of how I feel if you understand a bit more about the whole process. ***

What is a PET scan anyways? I had never heard of it before I had to have one. The one we did last Monday was my THIRD one. PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and it can distinguish between normal cells and rapidly dividing cancer cells. I have a very elementary understanding of how it works, but here's a rundown of what happens during a PET scan appointment.

First of all you have to come in fasting so that your blood sugar is low. You get to sit down in a hospital recliner (like the one pictured above) and after some friendly small talk they "accesses" you. I have a port in my chest, so I get the needle stuck in there. (I'm used to it by now.) If you don't have a port they just stick your arm. After that poke she pricks your finger to make sure you blood sugar is low enough. I never have problems with this. My blood sugar will drop very fast after fasting just one meal.

Then comes in another person (in my case it is another lady) and she has the scary stuff. The radioactive glucose. That just sounds bad. She is wearing heavy duty gloves and has a syringe with warning labels all over it and is encased in a silver metal tube. Then she quickly injects it into my bloodstream. While you try not to think too hard about what you just got injected with or what it is doing inside of your body you get to lay in your comfy recliner for the better part of an hour. They give you a pillow and blanket, shut off the lights and tell you to move as little as possible. Right. I struggled with this the first time, but by now I'm a pro. Off to dreamland I go.

The lights come on, they tell you to go empty your bladder, and then you get to lay down on the little moving table with your arms over your head for about 25 minutes and moving! The glucose has has a chance to be drawn to the rapidly growing cells in the body (cancer) and the radioactivity lights it up for the scan to see. After all the funny sounds and doing your best not to scratch an itch on your nose you are done and free to eat and go about your life...except for one thing. You are off the charts radioactive! Yikes!

So I spent the day shopping at a nearby Sprouts, stocking up on some organic produce and other hard to find items, then I spent some time at the LDS bookstore by the temple in Mesa. Luckily both places were fairly empty and I wasn't near very many people...good thing I didn't glow green or anything...that would've given me away. ;)

So fast forward to getting the results. Tell us what they are already Val!!!

That's what we want right? That's why I went through all that trouble for that get results. Good or bad, I just wanted to know. Well the call comes in that the test results are...(drum roll please)..."inconclusive". Yep. Wonderful. This is about how I felt.

So now I have to figure out what to do with that. More radioactive scans? Second opinion? *sigh* I guess that's how it goes. Never easy.

I have a phone appointment with my Dr tomorrow afternoon. We will talk about the options that we have. I am looking into a lot of things right now and I really like what a certain Dr in New York is doing and his amazing success in curing cancer...if I'm not already in remission...who knows. I really would love for this to be the end of my journey, but if it were up to me I wouldn't have started this journey. Shows how much I know. Look at how much I've learned. I would've missed out on it all.

All I know is that I feel great, my life is very blessed and I cherish every moment I have with my family. I will not let myself worry over things that I have no control over yet because I lack knowledge. My faith carries me through and I rely heavily on prayer as I seek for the knowledge that we need.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

10 Lepers...where are the 9?

Wow! What a was taken in Nov of last year. As you read on you will understand why I chose to post it now.

I realize it has been a very long time since my last post and I am blogging from my phone so forgive any typos that slip by. :) I have felt pretty guilty for not continuing my blog. I think I have been trying to be "normal" find my life before cancer. To almost hide from what I went through. I would answer peoples questions about how i'm doing, but not to draw any undue attention to myself. I find that even now I don't really want to look at the pictures or see video from when I was going through treatment. Like punching a wound that is trying to heal. Brings back memories and fears. I just wanted to be my old self. I am starting to realize that is an impossible desire. I will never be the same. I am changed and because if the generosity of others I am forever in their debt and must pay it forward.

I am not quite out of the cancer woods yet. I have a PET scan this Monday that quite honestly scares me to death. I have procrastinated this scan for over a month now because I just dont want to do it. After my treatment was over, by all estimations of how the mass was shrinking up to that time, we have been saying that I am in remission. Because of the radioactivity of the test the soonest we could get a look inside of me was in April. Well the dreaded PET scan it's fast approaching and I am trying so hard to cling to my faith and shun the feelings of fear. I am blocking out the "what ifs" that try to bog me down.

As I think of going to the dr on Monday my heart starts to pound and I feel the tears trying to sneak their way out. How badly I want to just grow my hair back and pretend this nightmare never happened. But then I stop myself. This wasn't a nightmare at all...this was a dream come true. I was part of a miracle. And to hide from that prevents me from expressing my utmost gratitude to my Heavenly Father and to those who have helped us on our journey. I've been thinking of the 10 lepers that Christ healed. Was it that only one was grateful? I don't think so. He saved them from a lingering death. But only one thought to express his thanks. What were the others doing??? My guess is celebrating with their families and rejoicing! Excited to get on with their new found health and plan their future! Surely they were grateful, but failed to express it. Sadly I feel I more closely relate to the 9. I am sorry for falling off of the face of the earth. I am so grateful to all of you for your support, prayers, concern and love. I promise that with my experience and with my newfound outlook on things I will reach out to others who need help just as you all have rescued out to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And I love this picture don't you? Shows how far I've come. Me with my shiny cue ball head with ladies who were also going through treatments of their own. I see hope in my eyes and a determination to fight and live! So I say, "bring on the scan!" Bring it on.