I know this is something that I should have been keeping up on a little better. I have been busy and overwhelmed with a lot of 'not knowing' and so have not been keeping up with my health updates very well.
So, I am attempting to sum up what has been going on.
On November 20th I completed my 12th full infusion of chemotherapy. At that point, it was unclear as to whether or not I would receive 2 more infusions of just the bleomycin that I had to skip in 2 of my earlier treatments. This decision was all pending my results of my Pulmonary Function Test. I had this test about a week after my 12th infusion and the results were not positive. My lung functions have decreased. This is due specifically to this bleomycin that they give me in my "cocktail" of drugs. It is unknown as to whether this decrease in my lung function is permanent or temporary... or a little bit of both. I guess in the grand scheme of things, it could improve from where I am now, but not recover to where I was before. I can tell you though that I feel it greatly. I KNOW that my lung functions are down from before and I knew it walking into that test. At this point I will not be going on any "hiking" focused vacations. I am lucky to get through a walk that is a mile in length. That is sad. But I hope for a piece of recovery in that area. The possibilities are great but I suspect that it greatly rests in time. Give me time and I will come hike with you.
So, because of the results of this lung test... I am not getting the "make-up" treatments.
That step was followed up by a CT Scan on Monday. Full on (if you all remember) with pre-treatment for my allergic reaction to the dye they inject. Yeah! Monday I was pumped full of steroids and antihistamines that, this time, made me VERY agitated and angry and uncomfortable and and and
And let's just say I feel really sorry for Paul. He was so good about it. I came home with STILL a mild reaction to the dye (even with all that prep!). I have to say that I could really do without this ridiculous reaction to this dye. It is SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS and I become just that as well.
So yesterday I heard from my doc that as far as the CT Scan shows... no big changes since PET Scan 2 1/2 months ago... highly recommend radiation therapy.
So, off we go to an appt. today with my radiation therapist. She is really nice and showed us a lot of positivity in respect to the outcome of radiation. Paul feels really good about all this (and he should!) and I will just wait and see. Something is happening to me. I am not negative about things. I am just more cautious and suspicious. I will do what I need to do. But I am a bit more reserved. And so it goes...
I go in tomorrow (yes appts. ALL the time!) and get a CT Scan again BUT this time without any dye! Thank you for small favors, right?!? This will give them a picture to start using to set up the radiation targets. I will also get some foam thing fitted to me so that every time I go in there I lay on it and it will put me in the same position every time. Then, after a couple of days they will have me back again for another scan and verify positioning and also to do my radiation target tattoos (little blue dots they put on you to use as targets... crazy. and yes, they ARE permanent... hopefully to be turned into something beautiful later!). So, looks like I will be starting radiation the week of Christmas. I will go for 17 treatments and from there, well, no one really knows, right?
Also, I feel like probably clearing up the scan issue that is so confusing. I don't totally know what I am talking about but I will put this in terms that I know. The CT Scan is showing a "mass." This does not mean that that mass is cancerous. I could always (for the rest of my life) show a mass in a CT Scan. This could be due to scar tissue that is left behind from the tumors. When they do the PET Scan they inject me with nuclear medicine that attaches itself to glucose and glows on the scan. This is an indicator of cancer cells. (Please excuse anything I messed up in this explanation!) I guess the most important thing to note is that just because the CT Scan showed a mass, this does not mean that that mass indicates cancer. I will probably not have another PET Scan until after radiation treatment.
It is all quite a mind f***.
That is just what it is.
Nothing more. Nothing less. For right now...
And so it goes...