CT Scan Results, the Word from the Indy Doc

26 10 2011

Christopher, hauling Theo off the field after his team took the Fall Ball championship game. Photo by Amy Rauch Neilson.

So, if a picture can be worth a thousand words, I hope that a blog post can transform itself in the same way.

My doctor called Monday with my results from Thursday’s CT Scan of my chest. The results were excellent. Both of the spots in my lung shrunk by an additional 1 mm each — they are each less than a centimeter now. My liver remains stable. And there’s nothing new to be seen, except…
And this is the part that took my breath away. My doctor said the radiologist had seen something in my thoracic spine. As much studying and reading as I’ve done in recent months, all I heard her say was “spine,” and the phone might as well have slid out of my hand and hit the floor with a thud. Thoracic spine is the term for the 12 thoracic (chest) bones.
I immediately thought “spine” and thought she was telling me that they were seeing a new growth in my spine. My mind was off and running — OMG, it’s over! I’ve got cancer in my spine! Not the case. Thank God.
What she was saying is that the area in my collar bone, which had been identified on the PET Scan way back when all of this began in January, was now bigger. More panic, though she very quickly clarified.
When you go to the ER because you think you have fractured a bone, an XRay may not tell the whole story — at least, not right away. If it’s a hairline fracture, it may not show up at all initially. But, two weeks later, as that bone begins to heal, it may indeed show up on an XRay.
Same goes for the small spot seen in my collarbone so many months ago. As a bone heals, it becomes more dense and may then show up on imaging when it previously did not. So, though that spot on my bone has never been confirmed via biopsy as a breast cancer metastasis to my collar bone, my doctors suspected it was. And now, after all this time, it looks like it is healing!
Whew! That was a long way for my mind to wind and bend and curve to absorb what she was saying, and that it was indeed good news.
Nothing else showed up on my CT Scan to indicate why I was having such severe pain on my right side last Thursday. That pain has lessened quite a bit and the potentially serious issues — like a blood clot in my lung or an infection in my port — have been ruled out. It could be something as simple as a pulled muscle. Even so, the doctor would like some additional imaging, perhaps a repeat PET Scan. Just for another look.
That’s the report from last Thursday.
Friday, as you know, we drove down to Indianpolis to see Dr. Waldo, a biochemist, M.D., and Ph.D., whose philosophy is very much parallel to that of Dr. Serban-Schreiber, whom I’ve mentioned numerous times in this blog as the author of Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life.
Don and I spent two full hours with Dr. Waldo, who went over every system in my body with us, using the results of dozens of tubes of blood he’d ordered drawn from me in labs in August and September. With this data, he is able to examine my body at the cellular level.
The best way I can explain what he told us (I felt a lot like I was back sitting in chemistry class) is to say that he went through my body, system by system, and showed us how we are really made up of dozens of what I’ll  call “gears” — like a clock if you were to open it up and look inside. When they’re not functioning properly, these gears may be running counterclockwise, when they should be moving clockwise. Or, perhaps the teeth on a gear in one body system are bent, or broken off, or otherwise not operating correctly. Or, there’s a log-jam of sorts between two gears, so that the good stuff the first gear is carrying (let’s say Iron, or Serotonin), is not reaching — and therefore, not being absorbed by, the second gear, where it is in desperate need.
When this happens — and it does in all of us — it can make our bodies susceptible to all kinds of maladies, from the annoying (sinus), to the life-threatening (cancer). Dr. Waldo not only showed us which systems aren’t operating properly in me, but also explained the chemicals in my body —  either the over or underabundance of — that were causing these issues. Then, he explained how we would go about fixing these issues, one system at a time, starting with my gut. That’s the area where problems start for most people.
So, though I feel I’m oversimplifying a bit, I can’t possibly explain in one blog all that he said. But I can, and I think I did, give you a good overview. And, as the weeks pass and I begin to follow the program he’s outlined for me, I will continue to share it with you.
Dr. Waldo said the toughest part is going to be the next 8 weeks, when I will be on a very strict eating plan and a course of various supplements. If I want this to work, I’ve got to stay on that eating plan. No cheating. None. Because just a day “off the wagon” returns me to ground zero and I have to start all over again.
That said, when he sees me again in late December, he expects I will have made some pretty significant progress. He’s seen it before in his other cancer patients, some of them with the BRCA 1 gene. There are, of course, never any guarantees. But I believe — as does he — that the combination of continued chemotherapy (he smiled from ear to ear when we were discussing the PARP Inhibitor that I am on — he is so pleased about this and strongly believes in its efficacy with gene-related breast cancers) along with his diet and supplement program, will reap great rewards. The goal is to deal with the current crisis, work with me, my body, and my doctors here in the Detroit area to get me into remission — and keep me there.
Does he believe I can conquer this and go on to live in remission for decades? He nodded an emphatic yes to this question. I believe it, too. And while I know there is no magic, no guarantees, no hocus-pocus, I do believe in God’s gift of free will. I’m exercising it to the fullest. And I believe God also gifts each and every one of us, as he has Dr. Waldo, in order that He may work through them to help us.
Indiana was all good news. We were so relieved, as we truly did not know what to expect and I was quite nervous on the drive down.
Once we left the doctor’s office, we breathed deeply of the fresh autumn air and took in the warmth of a sunny, late fall day. We spent the remainder of the weekend visiting the Indianapolis Children’s Museum — which just happens to have a special frog exhibit going on now through January (lucky Theo) — taking a walk through a very Spooky Forest, going for a boatride, and watching a local championship baseball game in which our friends’ son, Christopher, was playing.
Next on the agenda? As soon as I get the call from the dietician, who will outline the specifics of my food plan, I’m going to be eating like my life depends on it. Because I believe in large part, it does.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson
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17 responses

26 10 2011
Kristi Rugh Kahl

Excellent news and great descriptions of how things all fit together! Love the detail and am really happy with all your results! Keep up the great fight and remission will be here soon! xo

26 10 2011
Anita

Amen that you made it to Indy, amen on your test results, and amen to your new eating plan! So happy for you all.

26 10 2011
Sharon Frisch

Wonderful news, Amy! Praying the good news keeps coming and that the first 8 weeks of your eating/supplement plan go smoothly for you 🙂

26 10 2011
kiapet51

Great news Amy. I now have my mind set on a much healthier eating life style. Even though the situation may be different, I feel as if I could be eating like my life depends on it also. Thank you for your blog to give me the encouragement that I need. BTW…….I am boarding the plane in 2 hours for the 25 hour journey home. 🙂

26 10 2011
Bob

Wow! Where do I apply for an advanced degree? I truly feel educated. You make everything so clear.

26 10 2011
Ken and Gay

Terrific news Amy!!! GO GIRL GO!! Our bodies truly are a magnificant machine designed by our creator to function like “clock work” hence your gear analogy is right on!! We humans sure give it lots of punishment and still we survive!!! You’re going to treat it so well and do much more than simply survive – you are going to thrive!!! ( According to Webster – you know that guy well – “to thrive” means : to grow vigorously or luxuriantly; flourish!!!) Sounds good to me, so think of yourself flourishing vigorously and luxuriantly!! I know you will be absolutely glowing with good health!! Love you soooooo much, K. and G. XXX000
P.S. Brilliant idea – post the definition of THRIVE on your mirror to read each morning when brushing your teeth!!! How about it???

26 10 2011
soapchick

Awesome news Amy! I’m so happy and hopeful for you. Can’t wait to hear about your eating plan!

26 10 2011
Therese Becker

i have a friend with the same gene and she’s a 30-year survivor. She’s also survived 9 years with 4th stage ovarian. If you would want to talk with her, let me know. Email me at mamakia37@mac.com. Also, there’s a healer here in Michigan that you should know about, Nikura. He’s at 15 and Dequindre. Good writing here, and good luck to you, Therese

26 10 2011
pinkfund

Wow, Amy, I will be anxious to learn of your new eat to live diet . . . .

26 10 2011
Lori

I’m ready to run out – buy a boom box, fill up the gas tank, drive to Ann Arbor and let you stand on the desk and sing at the top of your lungs….Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I see it in our future. Happy dance! LYAB

26 10 2011
Laura Kasischke

Yes!!!! Great news, and great plan!!! xoxox

27 10 2011
Kris

Wonderful news!

27 10 2011
Jennifer Weallans

Amy,

So happy for the news! Does this Doc in Indiana treat all cancers? My neighbors 4 year old boy was just diagnosed with T-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Would you consider seeing a Sensei? I know someone that has healed many people, I suggest you call me if interested. It’s the real deal. (248.792.4140)

27 10 2011
Elaine

What good news!! 🙂

27 10 2011
Jennifer Bopp Stegbauer

I was just trying to imagine living in a society where all people have preventative healthcare in the form of a yearly biochemist visit. Will we ever come that far? In the meantime I am enjoying adding the spice tumeric to so many dishes. I am not sure if me family even notices. Today pumpkin soup with tumeric and ginger. Yesterday turkey breast filets with olive oil, salt, pepper, tumeric and chives. Fish with lemon juice, tumeric, salt, pepper and dill. Good luck with your new eating plan!

2 11 2011
Sarah Newman

Hi Amy! It’s been so long since we’ve last spoke but I want you to know that I think of you often and am praying! I hope we can get together sometime.

6 11 2011
Sara Nickerson

That’s great news, Amy! I haven’t been on my computer much lately so I didn’t see this until today. Anyway, I wanted to say it was nice meeting you at the Bras for a Cause…my friend and I had a great time. I really admire your strenght and determination in beating the cancer. Take care!
Sara Nickerson

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