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.