And here I thought that 2016 would be a lot smoother than 2015!
So much has happened in the last couple of weeks that it feels like months have gone by since my last post! We enjoyed an amazing trip to Quebec and got to spend some much needed quality time with my dad. He had been off treatments for a couple of weeks to give his body a break and was in the best physical shape that he had been in a long time. I still can’t believe that he came with us to the “Carnaval Parade” and that made being there even so much more special, as he used to take me every year as a little girl. I’ll probably write more about our trip but for now I will update on my most recent stint! To recap, in January, I noticed that my CEA (cancer marker) went up and I pulled the trigger pretty quickly and got in touch with my Shands oncologist, who in the end, agreed that it was good to act proactively. My thinking is that the more we can be ahead of the beast, the more chances we have at controlling it! In any case, a CT scan had not explained the rise in the marker and 2 doctors had recommended a PET scan. A CT scan helps us see “spots” but won’t tell you if there is cancerous activity within the spots. During a PET scan, you are injected with a radioactive substance very high in sugar which cancer cells thrive on. The dye lights up in areas where there is activity, where cancer cells are basically eating the sugar. My liver has many spots on it. As the tumors die sometimes they vanish and create holes that look like spots, sometimes they stay there, and sometime they calcify. So interpreting the results on my liver can be tricky. Well the results from the PET showed that there was only one remaining “hot spot” so one spot that was active. Now the question is could it be just “that” one spot that lead the CEA to rise? we have nothing to prove it but given that no other area showed activity we sure do hope so! I heard these results from my rockstar IR doctor Friday 6pm as we were getting ready to leave for our trip. I was so glad to get the results because I know myself and I would have been obsessing about the results during my whole trip! I am much better when I have a plan of action and know what my next steps are. Given both of our vacation, we planned on getting another more precise scan the Monday I returned and get the microwave ablation done on the Tuesday. I asked my doc if I would be “ok” to work the following Thursday and Friday and he said that I would be sore but would most likely be “ok”. Other than a couple of phone calls to set up some appointments, I was able to really forget about the whole thing while we were in Quebec. My insurance barked at the MRI but because of a snaffu on their end, my scan was approved late Friday afternoon and I was all set for Monday.
Being on a visa and going through immigration is always a trip for us. We had to take 3 planes home and the second one was delayed, leaving us less time than expected in Toronto where we had to go through immigration. We were told we had a 1.5 hour wait so they could review our new statuses… I told them I had cancer treatments the next morning and really needed to get home, our flight was boarding in 30 minutes! Well it worked!!! in 10 minutes we were in and out.. phew!
I had the MRI on Monday and brought my disc to my doctor so he would have access to the images before my procedure. Everything was lining up so we were all set for the procedure the next day. This is actually a procedure he could have performed in his office but my good insurance would not cover “in office procedures”, I guess they prefer to pay the astronomical hospital fees and try to save money elsewhere, like in denying PET scans and other procedures… makes sense right? Anyways, what I had done is called a microwave ablation where a needle is inserted directly into a tumor and it burns it through microwaves. My doctor was very happy with the results and said he had burnt it all! He warned me that I would have some pain as he had to burn close the capsule to make sure he would get it all – whatever, I was pretty drugged up after the procedure, I didn’t really care much about pain! Well let me tell you it was more than painful!!! I hate taking narcotics but broke down and took some but it did nothing for the pain. Even breathing was painful! It would take me 5 minutes to roll from my back to my side, I felt like any movement made my liver spasm. Finally on Sunday I contacted my doctor and he started me on steroids which should have been done right from the start but he told me that I had said that I didn’t want them. I asked my husband about this, telling him that I remembered telling my doctor I didn’t like narcotics but didn’t remember saying anything about steroids – my hubby bursted into laughter, apparently I had been pretty adamant about not wanting to take them! I met with my doctor yesterday who scanned my liver to make sure everything was fine and told him the story and he said “see I listen to my patients”!! I made him put in his notes to never listen to me while I was drugged up!!!! The funny thing though is that I also apparently told him that I could beat him down a black diamond (skiing)! Ahhh geeeeezzzzz what else did I say???? Anyways the scan showed that my liver was perfectly baked and the spot is looking exactly like it should. I have some expected inflammation between my rib cage and my liver (as the tumor was super close to the edge of the liver) so this is what is causing the issues breathing. The steroids are slowly working and everyday I am getting better! Well let’s keep our fingers crossed that is it for a long while – and let’s hope that it is indeed the very last spot!
Anyone up for liver tonight? hahaha….