Sunday, March 20, 2016

And a Wrench is Thrown...


I've become all the rage in the Regions Hospital Cancer Center.

I know this will not come as a surprise to many of you, but it appears that I am kind of a big deal. On Thursday afternoons, all of the cancer doctors at the hospital (surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, etc.) come together for a tumor conference. This past Thursday, my tumor and I were discussed at length.

See, I kind of have all of the cancer bigwigs scratching their heads a bit. Such a small tumor? Such a slow-growing tumor? So much activity in the lymph nodes? All three levels of lymph nodes? It makes no sense!

What can I say? I am a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.  All us cool kids are.

Thursday afternoon, I posted in detail about the plan (oh, the glorious plan!) we had in place. Friday, that plan was shot to hell with a call from my oncologist.

Prior to beginning chemotherapy, the treatment team wants me to first have a lymph node biopsy. This is now scheduled for 8AM tomorrow morning. Apparently, the radiologists couldn't seem to agree on what exactly my PET scan indicated regarding my lymph nodes. The lymph nodes "lit up" on the PET scan, but not everyone on the team is completely convinced that this brilliant illumination means cancer in my lymph nodes. My oncologist believes that the biopsy of my lymph nodes will come back positive, but he wants to be 100% sure before we start chemo. He thinks it is likely I will still undergo chemo and the plan will proceed as we discussed on Thursday morning.  However, should the lymph node biopsy, by some weird twist of fate, come back negative, we may look at a different treatment plan and my cancer stage may be re-evaluated.

Way to throw a wrench in the plan, people!

So basically, the wonderful plan (okay...I say wonderful, but I mean moderately acceptable--chemotherapy can't realistically be described as wonderful) is on hold until we get the results of the lymph node biopsy. My appointment for the port-a-cath installation (is "installation" the correct word here? Sounds like I'm getting cable installed) that was scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled until we get the biopsy results. So that horrible week we spent in a torturous holding pattern? It is quickly turning into two weeks. Ruanita is afraid cancelling the port placement will result in a delay in my treatment starting. I am trying to assure her that the doctors have my best interests in mind, while all the while silently cursing the uncertainty we find ourselves drowning in again.

And the nervous diarrhea made an unwelcome come-back today.

Ruanita and I are functioning under the assumption that I have stage 3 breast cancer and will begin chemotherapy as soon as we return from Spring Break. To allow ourselves to hope otherwise is setting ourselves up for heartache. And there is enough heartache in this situation already.

But tomorrow morning, bright and early, my armpit will be biopsied. Any positive thoughts, prayers, invocations, entreaties, petitions, implorations, or bribes you can muster would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.



2 comments:

Madge Woods said...

Oy vey. Interesting if lymph nodes were lighting up to the third series would mean big involvement in your system. It can be no nodes to all of them. They are the catch basins that keep it from spreading. Maybe it is just some weird form of inflammation. Ports cath can be done on short notice and as long as they have thought you could wait until you get back I doubt anything is moving that fast. Unless of course they have it all wrong. The new biopsy will hopefully clear up type and what needs to happen next. One of my old therapists had her breasts removed all tissue came back no cancer. Of course she had to have reconstruction surgery for only pre cancer. Better safe than sorry.

Virginia said...

Sending all the positive vibes that I have! Sorry I am just catching up with the blog now. I've been traveling and backpacking and internet access has been intermittent. Fingers crossed for clear lymph nodes (even if they cause plan rearrangement)!

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