Latest PET scan results
Written Nov 29, 2011 10:30pm
Today I spent all day at the hospital. I got up at 5:45 and left the house at 6:15. Branden’s mom was kind enough to come over bright and early to be with our kids again. Man! What would we do without her?!!?!
Branden skipped work to come with me for my PET scan. I have been looking forward to getting my PET scan and feeling optimistic about it, but I did feel kind of emotional yesterday as I thought about it and prayed fervently for a good result.
When we got up to the hospital I drank the nasty drink and got injected with the radioactive dye and sat in a dark quiet room for 75 minutes so that my brain wouldn’t metabolize the glucose as much. Then I got strapped into the big PET scan machine and laid perfectly still for about 30 minutes, occasionally following orders to hold my breath and breath normally. When it was done I went and met Branden in the waiting room. It would take a couple of hours for the test results, and we had about 2 hours to kill until I could meet with Doctor “B” (which was next on my long agenda of appointments for the day). So we went out of the hospital and got some food and went shopping for a little bit and then went back to the hospital.
Dr. “B” came in and got right to the point because she knew that all we wanted was to know what my results were. She said that she was very pleased. There was no sign of any new tumors anywhere, and everything looked good in the breast and lymph node areas.
There were originally two spots on my spine that looked malignant, and one of those spots now looks clear of cancer. The other spot on my spine and the spot on my left hip look better than before, but there is still something there. They call it a “lesion” on the bone, and it could be either cancer or healing tissue in the bone where the cancer was. The amount of metabolic activity in those areas has decreased from my first PET scan, but it is in a gray area and is impossible for them to really know if it is cancer or not.
At first I didn’t know how to take this news because I think Branden and I both thought we would get a more definitive answer about the cancer than this. But Dr. “B” explained it this way: Radiation actually works better than chemotherapy for killing cancer. (I didn’t know this before today!) But they can’t radiate your whole body because there are too many things in there that would get damaged from it, so they will only radiate very specific areas. That’s why they usually do chemo first because it is a systemic treatment for the whole body, and can get some stray cancer cells that may be in random places in my body.
So now that we have done chemo and have found out that it has worked in reducing the cancer in my body, now we can radiate those specific areas where cancer was detected. Then, since radiation is so effective, we have a good chance of getting rid of the cancer in those areas. So, it is definitely good news!
As for the rest of my body, we will not know if there is cancer anywhere until some time has passed. We will continue to do PET scans every three months for a while, and then every six months, and if anything shows up or is growing, then we will deal with it at that time. If not, then after a few years we will know that we probably got it all. I will just have to get used to not knowing all the answers for a while, but for now, my PET scan results are good, and I am still feeling very optimistic about beating this cancer!
After my appointment with Dr. “B” I went to the infusion room and got Herceptin (which I will continue to get every three weeks until at least next summer), and I got Zometa (a bone strengthener that I will get every six weeks.) I also got my prescription filled for Tamoxafin, which is an estrogen blocker, and I took my first one tonight. I wonder how that will make me feel?!
After all of that, we had to race down to American Fork hospital so that I could get my radiation for today. Then we went back to get our kids and picked up a pizza. We had a fun evening playing with the kids in the basement until bedtime. I always miss the kids when I am away from them all day. Whew! I am glad today is over!! Thank you everyone for all your prayers!!