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6.11.2009

So Far, So Good

Yesterday I met with my oncologist to get the results from my 6 month follow-up chest, abdomen, & pelvic CT scan that I had done on Tuesday. Ordinarily I would have had a PET scan done, but my PPO turned it down cause there was no evidence of recurrence - which I find pretty fucked up, since the test is what's used to detect and determine recurrence. Besides, I would think that since I have already had a recurrence, that that in itself would justify the need for the scan. So they denied the test, and instead I had the CT scans done.
I wasn't really sure what I was in for as I've never had an abdomen CT scan done before. I've had enough chest CT scans done before to know all about the nuclear contrast. But with an abdomen scan you have to drink this very disgusting crap called barium. It's like drinking cold Milk of Magnesia. It's basically a near-flavorless, creamy, chalky liquid. It's bad enough they make you fast for these tests, but then to make you drink 12 ounces of this goo is damn near torturous. Making matters worse was the fact that a transformer near the hospital blew, causing the power to go out. Luckily the CT machine was running off a generator, cause man would I have been pissed off if I fasted and drank this crap all to have to do it another day when the power was back. But since the power went out, the hospital was all backed up. I was there for over 2 hours.
Normally I don't handle these types of test all that well. Any time I have to get an IV, I damn near freak out. My veins are in such bad shape, it makes it very difficult to find one and get it working right. Usually it takes multiple attempts, and the more they stick me the more I freak out. So usually taking these tests require a Zanax, which means I get stupid, which means it would be best if Ruben were to take me. But he was out of town this week. He's been traveling a lot for work the last few weeks. I didn't want to put the test off, cause the anxiety of waiting and worrying is just as bad as the whole IV thing. So I braved it alone this time, and I survived. Was it a better experience than past attempts? A bit, but it still wasn't very pleasant. I was fortunate enough to get a good nurse who really took her time finding a spot before attempting to stick me.
Ok, so my test results came back with no evidence of any distant or metastatic disease. The only thing that showed up were some cysts on my liver, which my doctor says is of no consequence. I asked him if he was absolutely sure, given the fact that my mother died from end-stage liver cirrhosis. He assured me that as of now the cysts are completely harmless. Besides, he'll see if there are any changes when I have my follow-up scans done in 6 months. Then he ordered some blood tests and sent me on my way.
It's a HUGE relief to verify that I am still cancer free. I'm trying to think how long exactly I've been cancer free. My recurrence was found in February 2008. I had surgery done in March to remove some of the chest wall area where the tumor was found. In April, I had had a PET scan done to determine if there was any metastatic disease present - which came back clear. My follow-up PET scan done at the end of December also came back clear. So technically speaking, I've been cancer free for just over a year now. But in terms of remission when it comes to oncology, I'm not really sure cause I didn't finish radiation until August, and I didn't start on Tamoxifen till January 2009. A year sounds so much better than just 6 months, but I'm pretty sure it comes down to the 5 years on Tamoxifen. In any case I'll just be happy to make it past 3 years without another recurrence!

Oh, I also want to share a link I found with y'all. The site is called F My Life, and some of the stories shared there are just so freaken hilarious. You have to go check it out. I promise you that you'll be LOL and ROFL. So enjoy! The link is above as well as in the sidebar.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I'm am so very happy for you Angi. I know it's got to be a huge relief!