MarySmith’sPlace ~ Whatever’s next means more waiting! Cancer update#39

Monday, 16 August: Just a quick update to let everyone know how my meeting with the oncologist went today.

A biopsy of the lump in my neck, formed by three small lymph nodes, had shown metastatic adenocarcinoma; the CT scan was to find out where else the cancer may have spread.

The good news is that it seems not to have spread anywhere else and is, so far, confined to those lymph nodes.

Chemotherapy isn’t really an option. I can probably explain why not after I listen again to the recording of our meeting but as the recording is over an hour I’ll have to search for relevant bits to pass on. The oncologist does seem to think, however, that a four week course of targeted aggressive radiotherapy could be a useful treatment, even if not curable.     

I need to replay our discussion, in particular listen to the probably side-effucks. Even if the memory of the really painful throat, the burnt skin and the extreme tiredness has dimmed a bit (like after childbirth) it is still there. And I remember clearly the pneumonitis, the inflammation in my lung, in particular I’ll never forget the horrendous stay in the assessment unit where they misdiagnosed and mistreated the condition. The radiation-induced fibrosis has never left me causing the breathlessness and the cough, which have so adversely impacted my life. I need to listen and think and research and ask further questions.

If I do nothing then the oncologist thinks perhaps I’d have about six months (she gave me seven last time!) but with treatment that could be extended to a year or more. What I don’t know is how well I would actually be for those extra months. If how I am now – breathless on the slightest exertion, coughing when I’m talking, tired and lacking energy – is as good as it gets then I worry about how I would feel if I ended up still breathing but feeling even more wretched. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to decide what I should do! This is my decision – but I may ponder aloud.

The next step is to have a PET (Positron emission tomography) scan to check if there are any ‘hot spots’ the CT scan missed. I’ve agreed the oncologist should go ahead and book this while I’m making my decision. It will be about a fortnight before the appointment is through – then however long for the scan result – then more waiting to see the oncologist again.

The one thing I have learned about this world of cancer is that the only certainty for any of us is that it will involve a lot of waiting.

A wee while ago I posted some photos of Belted Galloways in a field near Threave Castle. One of them has just had a calf. If we’re looking for signs and portents I’m taking new life coming into the world as a good sign.

148 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ Whatever’s next means more waiting! Cancer update#39

  1. Och, Mary, what a tough decision to have to make! I am in constant admiration of your courage and pragmatism. I guess all I can say is I hope you manage to get as much information as possible from as many expert sources as possible to help you decide on the best path xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, it’s a tough decision, Fiona, especially when the main experts admit they don’t know the outcome. I’m going to try not to think too much about it for the next couple of days and enjoy a visit from my son.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Many thanks for the Mocha yesterday, Mary – it was lovely to have a proper face-to-face catch up.
    Not a lot I can say about the shitty decisions you’re faced with, but more than happy to either act as a sounding board, listening ear or a complete distraction where we talk about anything but. Give me a shout (or a email or text if it’s easier on the throat…) anytime 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Kim. It was good to meet up in real life. You’ve converted me to Mocha – time will tell if that’s a good thing or becomes an addiction! Thanks for offering to be a sounding board – may take you up on that. Hugs back.

      Liked by 1 person

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