MarySmith’sPlace ~ CancerDiary#35 Goodbye to cancer, hello to fibrosis!

Going for my CT scan and enjoying my few moments playing an extra in Holby City

Wednesday, 02 June: I met with the oncologist on Monday 31 May to hear the result of the CT scan, which was done on Thursday 27 May.

I won’t keep you in suspense. The cancer, it seems, is under control for now. Talking us through the scan showing on her screen, the oncologist said: “We can still see there is a bit of a lump there. But the hope is … that’s dead tissue. But can I say that every single cancer cell has been killed? No, I can’t.  But this is as positive a result as we could possibly have hoped for.

“No signs of any growth, no signs of any progression, no signs of any spread and the disease that is there has responded and the hope is it’s dead tissue. Realistically the only way we know that for sure is with time.”

We’ll meet again in three months to see how things are going.

I should have been shouting joyously from the rooftops but when I asked the consultant about my shortness of breath she said that realistically things might be as good as they are going to get. She didn’t mention lung fibrosis but on my copy of the scan report I read: “Resolution of the radiation induced pneumonitis, now prominent radiation induced fibrosis.”  

Radiation-induced fibrosis is a long-term side effect of external beam radiation therapy, which results in many symptoms, including shortness of breath, that have a significant impact on quality of life. It’s progressive. Average life expectancy from the time of diagnosis is between three and five years.

You can understand why my delight at being – at least for now – seemingly free of cancer is tempered by despair at what else I have to cope with.

I said to someone a few weeks ago that every time I feel I’m making progress something takes the feet out from under me and I have to scramble back up again. I do wonder how many times I’m going to be able to scramble back up again.

I will get my head round this but I am going to take a complete blogging break for the next couple of weeks. I will be back.

158 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ CancerDiary#35 Goodbye to cancer, hello to fibrosis!

    • Cheers, Pete. Staying positive is getting tougher and it’s going to take a wee while to get my head round the fact the treatment is stopping the cancer but giving me something else deadly to deal with.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Mary I hope you will focus on the good part of the news and take these next few months before next scan to enjoy all the moments. There is plenty of time for worry, and you were gifted some good time. Enjoy a break! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Mary, I hope you read this because I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Drunk Chickens. I also wanted to tell you that you changed my mind about Muslim women. I hope your friends are ok. Given the situation with the Taliban I know that’s a big ask. Fingers crossed their courage and resilience will see them get past this awful setback. I don’t know what purpose any of us serve in this life, but I can’t help feeling that your writing is a bridge across cultures. Hang in there. I don’t think your work is done.
    p.s. I left a review on -huge hugs- Meeks

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for your comment here and for your review on Amazon. Made my day 🙂
      At the moment the future looks pretty bleak for Afghanistan and, especially, for the women as Taliban it seems are becoming more powerful again. Hugs back with all my thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Yes, we’re hearing about Afghanistan at the moment because our troops want the interpreters and their families to be brought to Australia where they’ll be safe. Fingers crossed they’ll be able to come and that your friends, and now my friends, stay safe. -hugs-

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry to hear about the ‘step backwards,’ Mary, but I’m delighted to hear the good news about the cancer being under control. Blogging breaks are excellent (I should know because I’ve taken plenty of them), so I hope you enjoy yours and that you find it very beneficial.
    In the meantime, take care.
    Sending you hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hugs back, Hugh. I just popped in to respond to comments left on my blog. I’m still trying to get my head round the result of the cancer treatment and hope time out will help. It feels strange not checking out blogs but I definitely think I will feel the benefit of the break. xx

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Mary, your sense of humour in life is most definitely still there and the photo of you playing an extra in Holby City has me smiling. The news alas is so mixed and my heart goes out to you. I hope you find a sense of peace within yourself and find calmness and some soothing in Spring, nature and family & friends. I suppose the treatment is harsh that side-effect can occur. What I cannot understand is why didn’t they explain this more clearly to you instead of having to look it up yourself.

    Take care and thinking of you. xx ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Annika, The oncologist did mention there was a possibility of the radiotherapy resulting in some scarring of the lungs leaving me breathless. I said at the time I didn’t want to have treatment which would end up reducing my quality of life. I’ve since realised this is a very subjective phrase. I think as far as the oncologist is concerned I’m alive when I would be dead without undergoing treatment and the cancer has been paused – therefore it’s a good result. I’m hoping to see/speak to different consultants next week to find out what if anything can be done. Thanks for your kind thoughts xx

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Take all the time you need to take care of yourself and make sense of it all. You have gone through such a lot and I hope that you soon get all the support you need on what is happening, what can be done to manage this latest diagnosis. It was so good to hear that the cancer is in check. As you say it is subjective with regards to how the treatment for cancer is effective – cancer gone (great) long-term issues or other life threatening conditions as a result of the treatment that saved your life, such a difficult call. My side effects from chemo (which I almost turned down) are chronic but not life threatening. I can only imagine how you feel at the moment but I do hope that the consultants you are referred on to are able to put your, understandable, fears on hold and give you back the hope you deserve. My very best wishes and will keep you in my thoughts over the coming months. Do what you need, look after yourself and may more good news come your way – soon! Sending best wishes. J💚📚x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments, which are so appreciated. I admit after seeing the oncologist followed by obsessive googling of radiation-induced pulmonary fibrosis I was not in a good place emotionally – just when I wanted to be able to celebrate the cancer being in check. I’ve now heard that it is unlikely the fibrosis will get worse but I still don’t really understand the implications and am hoping things will be made clearer soon. In the meantime, I’m beginning to feel more positive about the cancer news and I think taking time out from blogging and social media is giving me some much-needed head space. Thanks again and best wishes. xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • It must have been such a blow for you, just when you thought you could begin to move on. What great news that it (fibrosis) won’t get worse although, of course, you still need to process what it all means and the implications for you. I hope that it will become clear and that you get all the support you need for as long as you need it. Your positivity is marvellous, Mary, so glad that you can feel it regarding the cancer news, it’s good to take the wins when you can. The rest from blogging/social media, as you say, can be such a good thing in order to give you the time and space to get your head around what has and is happening and I hope it continues to do so. So come back when and as you are ready to but there are more important things to deal with for the moment. DM if you think I can help in any way at all. My very best wishes to you. Jx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks so much. I’m feeling ready to start writing for the blog again – possibly this weekend. The lung physio has been great and did a follow-up call and has sent me exercises to strengthen the lung function. She asked a respiratory consultant to phone me to explain about the fibrosis so I really understood it was not the active disease which would get worse. All of this has helped me to feel more positive about re-gaining some of my stamina and ability to get out walking. I really appreciate your concern. x

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mary this is so good to hear. I hope you continue to grow stronger and more positive day on day. It may not be easy but every bit helps – walking, exercises for the lung and your wonderfully positive ways – it will be great to see you blogging again and I hope that helps you too. Best wishes, Janet x

            Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry, Michael. I’m taking a bit of a blogging break just now (though I did see Sally had shared Liz’s wonderful review) but will be back soon I hope. Best wishes, Mary


  6. Mary, I’m sorry I missed this post, but when I just went to see if you had posted, I realized this coincided with my mini-vacation I took with my sisters. (First trip, post-Covid. It felt strange to be out of the house!)
    The good and the bad– I’m glad to learn that the cancer has been arrested, but sad that the cost to your health is being paid still. Sending you hugs and hope you are enjoying these long days of Midsummer. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Eliza. I took a post-Covid break, too, and it was wonderful to be somewhere else! Unfortunately, despite having had both vaccinations the DH has managed to contract Covid and I have to self-isolate for the next ten days! So far, my tests have been negative so am keeping fingers and toes crossed it stays that way.


    • Thanks for your comment and I’m pleased to say it seems the fibrosis will not get worse. And thank you so much for letting me know you enjoyed Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni – that makes me happy.


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