MarySmith’sPlace – Good news and sad news; Cancer diary #29

My tumour, and its radiotherapy treatment area. It’s shrinking.

Tuesday, 30 March: As you know I had a meeting yesterday with the oncologist to hear more about the scan result.

I was aware from the hospital’s discharge summary the tumour had shrunk but didn’t really understand all that implied, especially as the CT scan had been done earlier than it would have been. Usually, the scan would be carried out 12 weeks after the end of the radiotherapy but because I’d become ill it was done to determine the cause of my cough and breathlessness – done, therefore, before the radiation had stopped working.

Although, it’s not definitive and nothing is ever certain in cancer, the oncologist said she is pleased with what the scan shows, saying it is as positive a scan as she would hope to see.

When I had the PET scan done back in July, the tumour was 7.5cm. It continued to grow between then and when I began chemotherapy. Although I didn’t write down its measurements then, it was large enough to cause a partial collapse of the upper right lung.  Now, it is 3cm and the mediastinal lymph nodes have also reduced.

Other good news is that there’s no sign of metastatic lung disease or spread to other organs. Looking at the remaining lump in my lung she hopes it is all dead tissue but “it never goes away to nothing”. If they are all dead cells it will stay like that but there is a significant risk that there could still be some active cancer cells I’ve been told that tissue will remain which will contain the dead cells that over time could and would grow. No crystal ball to say if this will happen or when. As ever with cancer, there are no certainties.

I’ll have another scan in eight weeks when everything should have settled down. I know nothing is ever certain in cancer and I remember our short-lived jubilation when Sue’s tumours reduced from the size of doughnuts to walnuts but I’m cautiously optimistic about the result. That’s a pretty brave thing to say for the glass half empty kind of person I am!

I’m going to be on steroids for the next six weeks for the pneumonitis. Unfortunately, the cough and breathlessness are not much better but the oncologist thinks they will improve gradually as the inflammation in my lung subsides.

Absorbing all the information is quite difficult and I’m so glad we have the discussion recorded and can listen again. If I didn’t have the pneumonitis causing such debilitating breathlessness I’d be absolutely delighted with the results. I moan about how radiotherapy is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of horrendous side effucks – but it is also the gift which is smashing up the tumour in my lung.  

Other good news – my mammogram came back clear. Being recalled would probably have finished me off.  I’m booked for my second Covid vaccination on April 10.

And the oncologist says I can go ahead with my hair appointment on 23rd April – and should be able to hug my son soon after that.

For everyone (all of us) who loves to see lambs!

In the midst of yesterday’s good news, my friend Sue passed away yesterday. She was diagnosed a couple of weeks after I was. In fact, she had thrown her bag in her car to drive up to meet me the day she had her scan result. Her tumours were in her left lung, mine in my right – “a right pair of bloody bookends” was the description we both thought of at the same time. Since then, we kept each other company on this very strange odyssey, sharing much laughter, frustration, tears, anger and love. Sue reached the end of the journey before I did and it is going to be hard to carry on without her.

But, perhaps she will always be my side.

144 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – Good news and sad news; Cancer diary #29

  1. What a mix of happy and sad news. I’m delighted to hear that your scan showed such progress. And we will all miss how much creative energy and joy and love Sue packed into such a small package.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Darlene. Yes, hugging my son will feel so good when it finally happens. Lots of people must be feeling the same as we move towards a lessening of restrictions. Sue will certainly not be forgotten.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, good news and sad news all mixed up together. I’m happy about the shrinking tumour – and delighted about the mammogram – being recalled for that would have been too much. Maybe coughing a bit less today – as long as I don’t talk!!!

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    • Thanks, Fraggle. It was a very positive meeting. If the steroids can sort out the inflammation and let me start moving more I’ll be happy. Sue was, indeed, loved my many people – a very special person.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Sue is going to be terribly missed by many people and I know she would have been so happy to celebrate my good news. She knew the tumour was shrinking but not that it might become even less over the next few weeks. Fingers crossed it does and that the steroids work on the pneumonitis. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Sue felt like a good friend to us all, but you had a more personal relationship with her.
    I’m glad that the scans show a positive result. I hope the pneumononitis settles down soon and you’re rid of its symptoms. Lots of hugs and prayers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such very sad news about Sue who will be deeply missed by many..she has been with you throughout your journey and unfortunately now is not but she would have been so very pleased with your news…I hope your pneumonitis settles down very soon and you can go forward and heal 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is so wonderful that you had such good news. I shall continue to pray for your health and happiness. Sue will always be with you in spirit. Such a great loss to the world. May her memory be a blessing to you. Gentle, loving virtual hugs, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lauren. I knew you’d be pleased for me. I’ve been meaning to email you for ages but I guess you understand why it hasn’t happened. It will.
      Yes, I’m sure Sue will be keeping an eye out for me and so many people loved her she will not be forgotten.
      Hugs back x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Mary it’s good news it is really just believe that. Like you I am devastated by Sue passing it still came as a shock even though she had told me quiet forcefully at times it was happening. She will always be with us, and also you have me and hundreds of others willing you on. 💜💜💜💜🦋🦋

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I sit here in tears at your good news and knowing how hard the news of Sue’s passing is for you. When I lost my sisters, I eventually understood that my job was to live and enjoy the life that they could no longer enjoy. The gift of love and friendship are the greatest gifts of all. I am so thankful for your positive news and I continue to hold you in my prayers, Mary.

    Liked by 3 people

    • There have been a few tears off and on today, Maggie. I like what you said about your job being to live and enjoy the life your sisters could no longer enjoy. I’m sure Sue would echo that sentiment and I’ll do my best to honour her in that way. Thank you for continuing to offer support. It means a lot.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Happy to read the update, Mary, and have some positivity, but so sad to read about Sue. Why can’t at least some joys be unalloyed? I’ll hold you, Sue, and her loved ones in the light.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. She will be by your side. I urge you to take what Maggie said above as your motto 🙂 The rest of us, of course, are right behind you. Keeping going forwards, one step at a time.

    And that reminds me of another page in Charlie Mackesy’s wonderful book. Have you got a copy?

    Roscoe’s sending love, but he’s too full of grass to get up and give you a kiss. Sigh. They’ve been out in the garden for a couple of hours yesterday and today – Dr Greengrass, it’s called. He’s looking great on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m sure Sue will be at my side – and I think Maggie has suggested an excellent motto.
      I do have a copy of Charlie’s lovely book. Someone kindly gave me it as a gift a few months ago,
      Glad Roscoe is doing well thanks to Dr Greengrass 🙂 I’ll forgive him for not sending a kiss.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Mary, I’m so happy to read your positive diagnosis. Hopefully, the pneumonia takes a hike and you can get back to those walks you enjoy so much.
    I’m heartbroken for Sue’s family and friends. You’re right though, her spirit will live on {{hugs}}

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jacquie. It is lovely to be able to share some good news for a change. I’m hoping to be able to start doing a bit more as soon as the steroids reduce the inflammation.
      I think there are so many people to love and remember Sue her spirit must live on. Hugs back.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Delighted to hear the tumour has shrunk so much and the signs are good – such a huge relief.
    Really sorry to hear of the loss of your friend.
    How are the brain and emotions supposed to cope with 2 such huge and conflicting things?
    My thoughts continue to be with you, Mary.
    ((hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a mixture of feelings….so happy your results were so positive Mary …here’s hoping your breathlessness subsides soon so you can truly enjoy the spring weather and your son’s company.
    Very sorry to hear of your loss though.
    Sending good wishes and have a happy Easter 🐣🥂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue. I’m happy about the positive result but still too breathless to manage a Pilates class! Maybe by next week things will have eased off a bit.
      My other friend Sue was a very special person, much loved by many people around the world and will be greatly missed.
      Thanks for your good wishes – and Happy Easter to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Mary, my condolences about Sue. Her loss is sad, indeed, and my heart goes out to her family and friends. That said, I’m thrilled with your news, which I hoped and prayed for. Now, if the steroids just knock out the pneumonitis, you should be able to enjoy life more this spring–and the little lambs.

    I have two questions: Since the tumor has shrunk so much, why can’t the rest be surgically removed? Also, what about the lung itself? Please pardon my ignorance on the subject. It’s possible you already explained the reasons. If so, I apologize.

    Take care of yourself. Hugs, hugs, hugs!
    Linda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your condolences about Sue. And thank you for your positive response to my good news about the shrinking tumour. It would be lovely to get rid of the pneumonitis and be able to enjoy getting out and about.
      My understanding about surgery not being a possibility was because of the involvement of the mediastinal lymph nodes in the chest as attempts to remove them would almost inevitably leave cancer cells which would then start to multiply again. Maybe when the next scan is done in about eight weeks it will be time to revisit those questions, though I’m really not sure. I will ask, though. Hugs back 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. So glad you’ve had good news from the Drs Mary. It worked! Brilliant! Was a shock to read about sue, I only read one of her blog posts this morning. Her words lie on in the ethernet forever. he had so much wonderful stuff to share with us. We will all miss her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m quite chuffed about the shrinking tumour news. Just have to be patient for another eight weeks but at least I know the treatment has had an impact.
      Sue will indeed be missed by so many people. I hope her blog will stay as a memorial to her.

      Like

    • I know, Robbie, it doesn’t make it any easier even when Sue’s death was expected. She will be remembered by many people from all over the world who enjoyed her friendship. I am sure she would be delighted with my good news, too.
      Hugs back.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hard to write about happiness for you Mary when you have ‘lost’ a dear friend but from the full palette of emotions I’m sending happy AND sad thoughts to you all in the same sentence. No pun intended. Thinking of you as always. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hope the good news continues. Sue would be so happy for you. As you can tell from the response to your post, many of us are happy for you, also.

    May you continue to improve, may your strength return, and we can look forward to many more years to learn of your adventures. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Joelle. I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the response to my post, knowing so many people care and are happy to share my bit of good news. Even while so many are sad about Sue, who will be greatly missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Such a day of mixed emotions. Hearing about Sue’s passing this morning was so sad – what a wonderful lady she was and will be fondly remembered by all. It may feel strange to celebrate your positive news, but I’m sure Sue would have been first in line with the love and hugs. I’m so happy that your tumour is shrinking, Mary, and I hope your cough and breathlessness eases soon xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it has been a day of mixed emotions and ups and downs – hard to be feeling positive about my good news, knowing Sue has gone – too soon. You are right, she would have been first in line with love and hugs. It would be good to have the pneumonitis kicked into touch so I can make the most of the shrinking tumour 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  17. So many emotions in one day, Mary. I’m so sorry about Sue (and think she will still be keeping an eye on you) but very relieved to hear about your tumour. That seems like a huge shrinkage. Lots of love, Juliet xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Juliet. It is a significant shrinkage and may continue to reduce a bit more over the next week. I hope Sue will be keeping an eye on me – I can almost feel her smiling at the moment and shaking her head at me!
      Sorry I haven’t replied to your text. One, I didn’t fully understand it, two, I did ask Mr Google but still didn’t understand, three, the text then disappeared. xx

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  18. Oh, Mary, what a mix of emotions. I’m so pleased to hear about the shrinking of the tumour. Truly excellent news. Ever so sorry to hear about Sue. She’ll be fondly remembered by many of us, and I’m sure she’ll be looking after you. Sending love and hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Wendy, it is great news about the tumour shrinking. It’s just so sad Sue didn’t have the same result from her treatment and we were continuing on the journey together. I’ll miss her such a lot. xx

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    • I know what you mean, Marje. Sue had such a vibrant personality, it’s hard to believe she’s not around any more. As you say, a special lady, who will be missed by so many.
      I’m pleased with the news of my shrinking tumour and hope once the steroids really get to work on the inflammation in my lung, I’ll be more active and able to enjoy life. xx

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      • Yes a vibrant and creative soul. I am so cheered by your news Mary. O hope you will soon be feeling able to get out and about more especially with the better weather coming and the lifting of covid sanctions. Let’s make Sue proud with our writing, blogging endeavours and our zest for enjoying life. x

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Such sad news about Sue, but thankfully your news is good. I’m sure she will be there cheering you on always. Now, keep resting, the steroids will hopefully not take long to work, and you have so many things to look forward to. Sending you hugs and best wishes. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Olga, Sue will be cheering me on from wherever she is. Just wish I’d been able to give her a last hug.
      I’m being good and trying not to push myself to do too much! I have blood tests tomorrow so it will be interesting to see if the steroids have reduced the inflammation marker – although as one doctor said, “sometimes we need to look at the patient and not the numbers.”
      I appreciate your concern and support. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Delighted to hear your good news. I hope that the pneumonitis clears up soon so you can really feel better. Here’s to more good news when you get checked out again.

    It is never easy when a friend passes, Mary, and the circumstances that had brought you even closer may make it all the more difficult but from what I have read I think Sue will be cheering from ‘up on high’. My condolences to you, Sue’s family and loved ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much. It’s been lovely to be able to report some good news for a change 🙂
      Thanks, too, for your condolences. I’m sure Sue will be cheering from somewhere ‘up on high’ and that is a comfort – though it won’t stop me missing her.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. I’ve been waiting for news of Sue. It feels like a punch in the gut– one is never prepared fully for the end. Devastating. While I never met her in person, as with you, considered her a ‘friend.’
    I am heartily sorry that you have lost a staunch ally who shared your journey.
    So we must cast our eyes to the future, hope for the best of outcomes for you and to have hugs at the end of the month is a focus worth pursuing. I continue to send prayers and love your way. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, Eliza, even when it is expected, we’re never prepared, never ready. Sue meant a lot to each of us who considered her a friend – she had a gift of making each of us feel valued and supported. I’ll miss her but I’m sure she’s still around even if not with access to her emails 🙂 Thanks for your continued support. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • She has indeed touched so many hearts and lives – and as well all remember her then I think she’ll be around for a very long time.
      Thanks for celebrating my good news despite the sadness surrounding it. xx

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    • Thanks, Geoff. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be able to report a bit of good news for once 🙂 I’m just sad Sue isn’t still here to ‘chum’ me along on this strange journey. I guess those capricious gods had other plans.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Excellent news … hope the steroids beat that cough into the ground! … i there a possibility of the dead cells being surgically removed at some point?
    I think there can never be enough words said about how our beloved Sue touched all our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’m happy to share some good news for a change. I don’t know about surgery – someone else has also asked – but I will enquire.
      Never enough words – and sometimes there are no words at all. She was special to so many of us.

      Liked by 2 people

  23. It takes time for good news to sink in Mary.. this last six months you have feared the worst and suffered the worst through the treatment.. always thinking that any light at the end of the tunnel was a train. That persistent cough is not helping but once that has improved and the summer stretches ahead it will be a time of celebration. Sue would be there is a flash and whilst her physical presence might have left us, her spirit lives on and if I know Sue she is somewhere making herself known in the best way possible. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Sally, I like that line about always thinking the light at the end of the tunnel is a train – describes exactly how I’ve felt over the last few months. And, yes, it does take a while for good news to sink in – because, I suppose, we’re afraid to hope for too much. I do actually feel today that the cough is lessening. It’s been lovely to sit in the garden in the sunshine – though still so bundled up I don’t think enough skin is exposed to get any Vitamin D 🙂
      Yes, I have a feeling, Sue might be really, really busy right now.

      Liked by 2 people

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