The preliminary report is that we do indeed have good news to celebrate!
The doctor told Don and I today that the CT Scan shows that the four largest nodules of cancer — two in each lung — have decreased in size. In the right lung, the 12 mm shrunk to 10 mm and the 15 mm to 11 mm. In the left lung, the 12 mm shrunk to 10 mm and another 12 mm shrunk to 9 mm. Other nodules in both lungs were too small to measure any changes on a CT Scan. (I think that means I will have the more sensitive PET Scan again at a future date.) Other very positive news is that nothing “new” showed up.
The doctor told me that, of course, any decrease in size is good news and that the report is about what we could have expected at this point in my chemo regimen. In her words, we are headed in the right direction and we’re going to keep on going.
I don’t know exactly what I was expecting. I think I wanted the news to be so miraculous that someone could give me an end-date for chemo. Or even an approximate. I want that so darned bad.
Don, of course, was very happy and encouraged by the news that we’ve made progress. Don’t get me wrong. I was, too, but the thought of still an unpredictable number of chemo treatments in my future just threw me into a series of wracking sobs. It’s interesting, because it made me think of a comment that my friend Scott Orwig left on my blog following my March 22 post on the psychological impact of cancer, The Summer of My Discontent:
“Wow, you hit that one right on the head!” he posted. “I thought maybe it was a response to the long anesthesia and surgery. After the initial elation of having the tumor out, my mood took a MAJOR hit. It can make a person feel guilty and ungrateful, after treatment has been apparently so successful, to not be skipping around and appreciating every minute of life.”
Indeed, it is really weird to feel the slightest bit ungrateful for whatever gifts we receive. Feels a little like the kid at Christmas who rips open package after package, hurridly moving on to the next one before enjoying the one at hand.
I feel so very happy, yet also so very conflicted.
Cancer, cancer treatments, the physical, the physiological, the psychological. It’s all so very, very hard. I just feel so very, very tired. Like a boxer who’s in Round Three, with many more rounds to go. Then again, I can see that the opponent is getting beat up and battered.
And in the end, I’m hoping and praying that slow but steady wins the race.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson