Friday, March 25, 2011

Two steps forward One step back

I had my PET scan on Wednesday, and went to the oncologist's office today for the scan results. The "wait" period for results is always very emotional since the unknown is always fraught with "what ifs." As you can imagine, I was fairly emotional on the way to the office, and even more so IN the examination room. While there is no "horrible" news to report (thank goodness) I will tell you that the results fall into a good and not so good category. Let's of course start with the good news (trying to remain the eternal glass half full type of person that I am...most of the time) the good news being that the cancer has not moved and is still in the breast region where it has been, and remains. More good is that part of the tumor has continued to shrink since the last scan. :) Now, on to the not so good tumor is not of the compact tumor type that we all think of when you hear about a "lump." Mine is more like the branches of a tree and has multiple branches. The branches that are near my biopsy site, and the actual hard growth that I felt back in October, is the part that is shrinking. The other side of my tumor which is under and to the left of my implant has shown a slight growth since the last scan :( Yes, it is all the same tumor. No, I do not know why only part of the tumor is responding to chemo. I asked the doctor that same question. He told me that there is a possibility that due to the "branches" under or near my implant, or due to scar tissue in that region, the chemo is not reaching that part of the tumor.
Apparently, chemo cannot be absorbed through scar tissue. I'm still a little fuzzy on all of this. I did ask him if my implant was removed, would that help? He told me that was a question to ask my surgeon at the U of M when I see her on Monday. He also told me that he would like to change my chemo drugs, which means continuing on chemotherapy :( No, I don't know now for how many more treatments either. I will see the surgeon on Monday, and see what her "plans" are for me. Then I will return to Dr. K. (oncologist) on Tuesday morning to discuss the surgeon's plan...which might be different.

I had no idea when this second diagnosis was given in October, how difficult it would be to travel down this road again. It has been tough, I won't lie to you. Some days it seems like my life will never be normal again. I try so hard to fight, and the thought of all of you is sometimes the thing that keeps me going. Recently I have been seeing the ads on TV for the 3 Day Breast Cancer walk, as well as hearing them on the radio. In the past (pre B.C.) I would see them and think, oh, that's really sad, and then honestly, not think too much more about it. Now it difficult to watch without tearing up. The part that means the most however, is when different individuals say, "So nobody's mother, wife, sister, or friend EVER has to go through this." Not a day goes by that I don't wish that somebody comes up with a cure because now I am one those mothers, wives, sisters, and friends that is going through it.

I will be back on Monday with the surgeon's recommendations. Hug the people that mean the most to you, let them know that you love them, don't sweat the small stuff, and don't take anything for granted.

Lots of Love,

P.S. are a ray of sunshine in my life! My dear "cookie" friend, you put a smile on my face everytime you leave me a message...thanks for still being there!! xox


  1. You are stronger than you realize, love you lots. Sending a virtual hug your way... xoxo

  2. You are in my thoughts and prayers always!
    YOU are an inspiration to EVERY, Mother, Wife, Sister or Firiend!
    Always know Im here for you!

  3. The previous post is from Michelle
    sorry I forgot to put my name ;)

  4. Yes, I'm still here... even if my cookies aren't ;) Thank you for educating the rest of us and raising awareness and especially the little reminders about taking nothing for granted. I can totally relate to the anxiety about the "what ifs." I go through that every time I take my 6 year old to see his cardiologist. It easier not to think about it, but sometimes it just overwhelms you. You are an incredible person Joanne - to go through all of this - and your "glass half full" perspective still shines through!
    Big hugs,