I should start by mentioning that on the thirtieth I went for my second MRI scan. This was much like the first, except the radio didn’t work properly and I went without music for quite some time. That might not sound like a hardship, unless you have actually undergone an MRI. The machine is deafening, even with earplugs in, and the music is the only thing that helps the time pass. My test was at least an hour and a half long; music would have been greatly appreciated. I think I might have actually managed to fall asleep for part of the exam, especially since there weren’t near as many segments of holding my breath as last time. I’m not sure, but I definitely felt slightly refreshed, though stiff, once I was one with my scan.
When the MRI of my pelvis and abdomen was complete, I was ushered into another room for what would be my first CT scan. The PET scanner is pretty much a CT scanner that also happens to have a setting that measures the uptake of the radiated sugar. The only difference, the sugary substance doesn’t really have any immediate side effects when injected as long as you aren’t allergic to it. For a CT scan, however, it is a little different. The machine at my hospital uses actually spoke to me; it told me exactly when to hold my breath and breathe again. I should have known that the quick test wasn’t the only thing I was in for. Apparently, Dr. Brooks had ordered it with IV contrast, so the IV from my MRI was used to dump the CT contrast in as well. Where the MRI contrast has no immediate effects when injected, the same cannot be said of the CT. In fact, once the dye was injected, it was as if my entire body had been lit on fire. Try holding still when you feel as if you’ve been engulfed in flames! I burned for about five minutes before it started to fade and I know there were tears in my eyes when the tech came around to remove my IV and walk me back to the dressing room. Oh, did I forget to mention I was paraded around the CT/MRI department in nothing but my panties and a hospital gown? Yea, I am so glad that I am not modest anymore.
Since I had scheduled my tests for Friday, I of course spent the weekend thinking about the results and knowing that I wouldn’t receive them until at least Monday. It ate at me. I was continuously asking myself if the tumors were bigger. Had they shrunk? Would we find more or would the news be good? Had suffering through the side effects from the chemo, especially at the higher dose, been worth it?
Deep down inside, I think I knew the answer to my questions before I even asked them. When Dr. K had phone and told me about the lesion at the very beginning, I think I knew it wasn’t going to be something easy. In fact, once they sent me for the biopsy, I knew it was going to be cancer. I just knew, somehow. Perhaps it is my lesser revealed pessimistic side.
Sadly, I was correct this time too.
Dr. Brooks called me this morning with the results to half the tests. The CT was still being read, but the MRI was back and he had reviewed the films and report. None of the tumors had changed in size, either growing or shrinking. The only change noted in the new scan was a small, six millimeter nodule (imagine a very small pea) on the right lobe of my liver. The larger mass was still about the same size on the left and the tumor near my kidney, which apparently is wrapped around my adrenal gland, has not changed in size at all either. We won’t know about the lung nodules until the CT is back, hopefully tomorrow. Dr. Brooks recommended we get aggressive again with the chemo, but didn’t really explain what that means. I am not certain if he just wants to increase my dose back up, make my treatments more frequent or add a new drug. He promised we’d talk more and review the scans on Friday.
So, there is the update for now. I expect more information in the coming days. Today, I’ll admit I was truly disappointed when he said that they hadn’t changed at all. I expected it, but I had hoped for better news. I wanted to know that the last month of nausea and lethargy had been worth it in the end. Though it is still early in my treatment, I had wanted some piece of silver lining to clutch; it just isn’t enough to know they aren’t growing. People at work were incredibly kind and respectful of the crazy girl crying at her desk. Milo even popped by to give me a hug and have lunch with me.
I will always remember this though: today is AJ’s birthday and she said something that warmed my heart and made me cry. “Sorry to hear that. That is not what I wanted to hear. I’m going to use my wish when I blow out my candles for you.” I feel really loved by all the wonderful people in my life. I fight for them.