Thursday, June 9, 2011

Three Yawps for Science

After visiting with the Onc last week, he felt NO external issues (looking for swollen nodes in all the typical locations, even in my guts) and said it would be OK to bump up the CT Scan if I wanted to as the changes would be as apparent now as they would be in 3 weeks.
As we exited, the receptionist noted my new insurance carrier and that we most likely would be able to scan at LHCP as opposed to my normal routine at Spectrum across the street. She asked if I could come back down in a few hours due to an opening at 1pm. I agreed to the appointment in order to get the results sooner. I had to immediately drink a bottle of the much blogged Barium Sulfate and take a bottle home to consume an hour before the scan. I came back downtown and was out of there within 15mins. Multiple jabs were not required as my veins acquiesced but the IV contrast was much warmer this time around. A polite "good luck" from the tech and I was on my way.
I called the Onc on Tuesday to see if they had results yet and didn't hear back. Wednesday morning I checked my voicemail and the Onc had called late to say we should, "catch up tomorrow". The last time I rec'd a call from the Onc he had nothing but good news so a mysterious lack of info sent a shock wave through me.
I had a PT appointment for my lingering shoulder pain so the whole drive was nauseating while Diane Rehm's firm, quivering reparte tried to distract me. I felt like I was floating in a quiet, thick, "what the hell" miasma.
After arriving back home, I called the Onc's office and was told someone would get back to me right away. Laur came in for some lunch and asked if I had heard anything and I relayed the Onc's message from last night. She turned a little pale and had to sit down. As we were discussing all the potential scenarios, the phone rang and the callerID listed, "CANCER AN". I answered with confidence and a nurse explained that there was "minimal enlargement indicated in the scan" they would like to schedule a PET Scan.
This should be a positive next step as the CT Scans are not able to determine if the enlargement is due to relapse or just normal fluctuation. Keep in mind that in 2005, I had the whole lymph node chain removed from the left side of my neck after an inconclusive needle biopsy found unusual cells; forensics proved the nodes to be benign. The PET will actually highlight overly active cells (cancer cells) in my body using a fluorescent glucose mixture. If it turns out that there are dark spots in some of the lymph nodes, then I suspect that we successfully caught the relapse early and start a plan of attack. If there are no spots, then we might conclude that the enlarged nodes are nothing more than my "cured" body back to normal function.
Hopefully the new insurance company will see the logic in this step and agree to pay for the scan.
Should have the scheduled scan date this week. It takes 3-4 weeks to get a scan appointment.

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