Yesterday was the one week follow-up after surgery. There was good news and bad news. First the good news….I got one of my surgical drains removed. Yay! That is exciting because that one hurt every time you moved a hose. The other good news was that the surgical margins (edges around the pieces of me they amputated) were clean – no cancer all the way out to the edge. This means no more surgery.
But that wasn’t all….out of the 18 lymph nodes they took out, 10 of them still had cancer that had not responded to treatment. That means my response to the trio of chemo drugs they had used was only partial. The oncologist will make the final decisions on what happens next, but it looks likely that radiation will be postponed in favor of more chemo with different drugs. Since radiation just attempts to kill whatever cancer cells are left in the area where surgery was (local treatment) , that becomes a second priority to killing whatever ones may have wandered through the lymph system and set up shop in distant locations and may be preparing to become a metastatic nightmare (systemic treatment). This may also involve another PET scan or CT scan to see if there are areas of problems in other organs that weren’t big enough to show up when they did the original scan in March but are now. We have an appointment with the oncologist next week.
Have I mentioned how grateful I was to be done with chemo? That no matter how anxious I was about the disruption, logistics and potential exhaustion of radiation 5 days a week for six weeks while trying to work full time, I could always comfort myself with “at least you’re done with chemo.”
We were looking at Facebook last night as a way to distract ourselves from the news of the day that we didn’t want to marinate in, and a post from a dear friend who lost his wife to cancer a few months ago was there saying how much he missed her and how relationships are really all that matters in life. Tears. Fears. Hard to keep emotional distance from that at the moment.
Glad I’m walking through this with an amazing family and some very supportive friends. But wish we were all walking somewhere else instead of down this road.