Go ahead – I’ll wait. OK? Good. Well, then…
Dr. Leal called me with my PET scan results Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, it did not go the way we wanted it to go. She said it showed spreading to lymph nodes in the lungs, abdomen, and some bones (not sure where, wasn’t fully focussing at that point). This means that I will not be getting radiation, but instead a slightly altered form of chemo alone. She did say that this cancer is “very responsive” to treatment, which I take to mean they can reduce it quite a bit. I don’t know for how long, to what degree, or what it means in terms of recurrence. But if they can knock it down to any significant degree, I will be happy to have whatever they want to give me.
So, we have another Wednesday meeting with her this week (plus more labs) and scheduling to begin chemo. If they don’t do so, we’ll have to start pushing them a little bit; this is dragging on too long for my taste.
My brother David came out Thursday night for a quick weekend visit. It was absolutely great to see him and hang out all weekend. He had the unfortunate honor of being with us when I got the phone call. But, as much as I tend to see myself as a self-contained entity, I was glad to have him there. I just can’t imagine how anyone could go through something like this alone. Big family dinner Saturday night, which lifted everyone’s spirits.
One of the other docs had prescribed for me a low-dose morphine tablet to help control my cough (similar to the codeine syrup from the other week). I tried it for two days. It did seem to help somewhat, although it gave me a monster hangover the next morning, which was not pleasant. But the second night, Jeanette and I were shopping at Woodman’s, and in the middle of the produce section I started to lose my voice. Hoarse, coughing, cracking voice, the whole schmear. We came home and I got the worst case of the spins ever, plus, my hearing suddenly dropped to about 25% and there was the weirdest hissing, burbling sound in my ears. Kinda freaky. Had to sit down and hang on for about 10 minutes until it passed. Google says, yes, that’s a side-effect. So I stopped the morphine yesterday, and today my voice is mostly back. I don’t know if I need to tough my way through it until I develop a tolerance, or if dropping it is the smart thing to do. Might try again on an as-needed basis, we’ll see.
The lesson: watch out for morphine, I guess.
This has made it more of a struggle to keep my positivity up. But my view of my options is still the same. I will do the most-effective treatment they can offer, and get as much out of it as I can. If the term “cure” is off the table, then reduction/management is what we’ll work on. I know that for every possible outcome I can think of, there are people out there who have experienced it. I don’t intend to get lost in miracle-fantasies, or whacko cures, or plain old denial. But I do know that the future is unwritten, and I’m just getting started.