Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Time’s fun when you’re having flies

Or at least that’s what Kermit the Frog used to say. Any number of clichés could describe what it’s like to wait for the next cycle of chemo or the next CAT scan or biopsy result. I actually had a CAT scan Thursday of last week (7/8/2010). Once they got me going it only took 10 minutes. Waiting for the results on the other hand took another 30 hours until my doctor’s appointment on Friday. The results were negative (which is STILL positive). I didn’t have as much anticipation for this scan as I thought I would. It was sort of anticlimactic and I just took it in stride. At that point I thought I had come to terms with my treatment and cancer. I make fun of it. No, I didn't hope to spend age 35-40 wondering if the cancer would come back. And my 40th birthday party will hopefully be one hell of a "completely f-ing cancer-free" bash! I know I technically won't be considered "cured" until closer to my 41st, but I'll take the little victories.

Since the last scan was so “easy” I wanted to know what the future holds today I asked the doctor what the foreseeable scans/tests would be. It looks like I’ll be getting CAT scans (not PET) from here on out. He said the PET scans are best used up front, and after that point CAT scans are what he prefers to use. Todd will probably now launch an investigation into the medical journal Gynecological Oncology (favorite reading these days) to see what’s standard industry practice.

For those into the logistics, my schedule will be somewhat along the following lines. I will get a CAT scan in about 6-8 weeks (end of August/beginning Sept), right before I start radiation. Then I will have 5-6 weeks of radiation therapy and I will get another CAT scan at the end of that (mid-end October). I think I will get CAT scans every 6 months for 5 years with other tests in between.

Then sitting here in the hospital getting infused with round 5 of chemo (see me in comfy shirt and *gasp* no makeup), I tempted fate and asked my doctor the kicker of a question. The one I didn’t really want to ask, but that is always lurking in my mind. I asked him what he thought my chances for cure were given how far treatment has progressed and my most recent CAT scan results. I was sort of surprised that they haven’t changed since the beginning: 85% chance of survival. It makes sense – the chances don’t change much because it’s all based on overall survival etc. We talked a bit more about the incidence of recurrence etc. Todd and I have already speculated a lot about what the point is at which you start to relax a little. Per my doctor (and he IS the expert) about 60-80 percent of the cases of recurrence are in the first two years. The clock officially starts ticking when I’m done with radiation. So October 2012 will be a good time to check back in.

No comments:

Post a Comment