Oh, it's a strange existence sometimes...

Sometimes, I simply forget. Sometimes I get caught up in time, or it's one of those days that perfect moment when I wake up, right before I open my eyes and nothing can touch me. Sometimes I'm laughing and I don't remember. Sometimes.

Sometimes when I forget, I have to pee (which are typically mutually exclusive). But it means I look in the mirror. And immediately remember. I remember that I can't 'pardon this interruption' any longer and the rest of my life is going to be peppered with scans and results and spending time in The Waiting Place. Then again, I'll wait and scan and hope and live for as long as I possibly can...

But sometimes I remember. And at those times, I work hard at not getting lost in the limbo. I'm not sick, but I'm not well (this is pneumonia-related, not necessarily cancer-related). I'm not hideous, but I sure as hell ain't anything close to pretty these days. It's such a trivial thing, but it really screws with the psyche at times to look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back at you. It's such a small thing - as I'd trade a lifetime of baldness for just that... a LIFETIME... but in the meanwhile? Enough with the bald already. I know I went through this with the chemo, too, and I know it will pass. It WILL pass. (Do you hear that???)

I was looking back at some old entries from a year ago today. Simple curiosity as to where I was last year at this time. I found one from 2/18 where Jill left a comment that said "strong heart, bare head" in relation to my most recent MUGA scan. It made me laugh. Laughter is always welcome. This year? Bald as an egg, still.

Meh, whatever. Life is good and hair will grow (we hope)
Meanwhile, I just need to continue to laugh as often as possible...

Inscanity has taken a break for a while...

Monday we picked up the results of the PET scan I had last Thursday. It was a mess. All sorts of hypermetabolic activity in the lungs and such. The thing is, Dr. Cavalcant had signed off on it, and knowing him, he wouldn't have given us the report without talking to us first if it was bad news.

So we hoped.

Reading the scan report (because of course we are self-proclaimed medical professionals) we came to the conclusion that all the lung and related junk was DEFINITELY pneumonia-related. The report even made reference to something along the lines of infectious disease or something. There were a couple of lymph nodes in the upper abdominal area with slight metabolic uptake, but it was most likely due to the infection. I had a feeling this scan would be screwy due to the pneumonia. But of course, we didn't know for certain.

Now we do. He was thrilled with the scan, all the major organs are clean, and he felt the other stuff, including the lymph nodes was pneumonia-related! Damn pneumonia. Then again, in this case it's a wonderful thing, because it's nearly gone, and NOT cancer. We've had quite enough of that, thank you.

So, the scans are done. And, I gained a pound this week! (Which sounds like a ridiculous thing for ME to be happy about, but I got a little scrawny during the pneumonia process.) The Herceptin continues, because by God, it's WORKING - and I continue to go about the business of living, loving, and growing hair.

There are worse things...
Life is good.

Geometry lessons

When is the last time anyone out there (aside from you math teachers) gave any thought to simple geometry? I know I didn't. It's been a long, long time. I'm getting old, you know.

Today we got schooled by the radiation oncologist.

He didn't have the MRI results in front of him (not quite sure why) but we relayed the news that the two largest spots shrunk by nearly 50%. Shrinkage is good. What we heard next was even better. He informed us that the measurements we were getting were diameter (or radius, I forget) but in any case, it wasn't VOLUME. A 50% (or almost) reduction in mass equals an 87% reduction in volume. Geometry. Who knew.

We also learned that it's possible that we can see some more reduction in size over the next couple of months as while the radiation is done and gone, the next generation of cells and the generation after that can continue to die off.

What now? In three more months I stuff earplugs in my ears, sing in my head as loudly as I can, and endure the deafening noise of a follow-up brain MRI to see what's going on in there. Should something crop up eventually? We also learned that there are more targeted forms of radiation that can still be used to treat them. But, we're not there yet.

Where are we? Right now, we're stable. We're asymptomatic, and we're waiting for confirmation that there's nothing in the rest of the body. And continue to live.

What else is there?
Well, maybe hair...

While I was sleeping...

Time passed... as time passed, the time approached for a follow-up MRI after the radiation. I had this image in my mind, an unrealistic image at that, that the radiation worked as some type of magic eraser and when I got the scan results back... VOILA! No more cancer!!

I'm not sure if I ever really believed that, but it was good to dream...

The results were that the two largest spots shrunk by almost 50 % (17 mm to 10 mm and 7 mm to 4 mm) but they do still exist. There is no way to tell if they are dead spots or live, but they are there, as are some more that were there before. However, there is nothing new and no progression at all.

Greg recalls the radiation oncologist (who we see next Monday) saying that success in this type of treatment is shrinking of the tumors, so by these standards, the radiation worked. The thing with the brain is that it's so different than treating other parts of the body since there is no effective treatment that crosses the blood brain barrier. So we scan and wait and monitor, and if it should start to progress eventually, we deal with it then.

Meanwhile, I live. It's all I know how to do.

This pneumonia thing really threw my schedule off with everything cancer-related. I'm back in for Herceptin this Wednesday, then back for another PET on Thursday morning. It seems like such a whirlwind since the last one - it was just before the 3-Day, just before I got up and told the world that I was still dancing with NED. I had no idea what was lurking inside. But, we deal with it - like we always do. As much as the PET makes me nervous, I know that it brings knowledge, and with the knowledge we can evaluate my options and know what's going on inside, and if need be - how to treat it. I still have an irrational fear that I'll never have hair again...

I hate that this is a part of my life, and always will be. I hate that it has touched so many people that love me. I know that if I tried the rest of my days, I would never make sense of it, so I'm not even going to try.

What I do know is that I'm going to continue to live with everything I've got for as long a time as I've got.
I don't know how to do otherwise...and the truth is?
I don't want to.