Is the upshot of yesterday’s consult with the big-city doc. Her recommendation (read: doctor’s orders) are to finish the sixth cycle of chemo and do a PET scan again a month afterward. I will do the scan with them rather than locally so their radiologist can read it. Apparently he is one of the top PET scan experts for Hodgkin’s, so he is one of the best people to be able to tell exactly what the results mean. Since the PET results will determine whether or not I am done, or if I need a biopsy, or if radiation is warranted, it will be good to have a clear reading!
This is good news for us in that life stays relatively calm for now. The testing and subsequent discussions and decisions are still out there, and in some ways I was hoping for something definite, but definite would have meant action, activity, upheaval, and a different impression than the one we got from this doc, which is that I am not that complicated but just need to give the chemo time to act and then get the best scan possible so we can make the right decision. Overall, I prefer to be someone who doesn’t faze the experts.
The biopsy is still on the table and it seems like she will want to do that if the PET still shows activity. It could show “gray area” which can be residual matter that is not active or can have some activity…so, the biopsy could very well show that the cancer is gone. Or it could show that it’s not. This is all speculative, though. She described the procedure and it sounds like it would be more of a needle biopsy than a “traditional” incision. Since they are talking about accessing something in the middle of my chest, this sounds better than what I was imagining. Beware the power of imagination in the mind of a squeamish person!
So. Chemo #11 on the 15th, and #12 on March 1st, assuming no infection or other interruptions. Then I have most of March clear–appointments of various sorts, surely, but no treatment, and thus the chance to have some time to recover. Some time to have whatever the “new normal” for my energy level might be. A month. March was such an intense month last year…the retreat that changed so much for me, making the appointment with the surgeon, finding out I was pregnant again, the biopsy, the diagnosis. I imagine I will spend the month both trying to soak in as much normal as possible, and marking the anniversaries as they go by. It will be Lent, too, which seems appropriate for the type of contemplation I foresee.
Today (this week) I am recovering from last Friday’s chemo and feeling very blessed. I took the step the other day of asking friends for more help with the boys, mainly in the afternoons, so I can get more rest. It is already happening, and already helping. It was hard to send that email, since I first had to face gaping holes in any humility or capability I might claim. The latter, hopefully temporary, while the former…well. Getting refined by the day.
I haven’t been an “I can do it all!” person since high school, maybe college, when I took overachieving and ran with it. Still, the part of me that lingers from that driven time does NOT like to admit that “just a little chemo” is getting in the way of what I do want to do. How foolish am I? All of this provides a major reality check on a daily basis.
Please continue to pray for us: for healing for me; for energy and endurance for Chris; for health and happiness for the boys. It’s too much to hope that they are not touched by all of this, but I pray with all of my heart that the effects are minimal. Please also pray for my aunt, for my brother’s godfather, for a friend whose baby is due in two weeks and will not survive long following birth, and for a young lady who was just diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 19.