It’s been a while! The last few weeks have been full of normal life things and a few cancer things. Two friends had babies, two friends brought their babies over to visit. All four are all perfect and plump and make great little noises. We celebrated a 13th birthday in our own family, complete with a(nother) homemade Minecraft cake, some cool posters, and Rubik’s Cubes I didn’t even know existed before this month. I’m officially working full-time from home and I’m slowly starting to go into the office a little more, easing my way back in. I feel like I’m easing back into everything right now.
We met with a radiologist and had a great/bad appointment. We were there for four hours for just the consultation and didn’t even meet the doctor until hour three. I had to go over my complete medical history with three separate nurses, and then we had to talk about all the things that “could possibly but probably won’t” happen with radiation, should we go down that path.
We loved the radiologist. She was thorough and answered every question we had first in “medicalspeak” and then she broke it down so that we could understand it. She confirmed that I am not a complete response, but also said that I had a remarkable response. She said this last PET scan was taken too close to chemo to be able to tell what the activity was, so she hesitated to say yes or no to radiation just yet. If there is activity, it’s not because the chemo didn’t work, it’s because the chemo just couldn’t get to some of the cells. Sometimes arteries shrink or there is scar tissue and that can block the chemo from fully penetrating an area. Since my cancer was “bulky”, we’ve known all along that this was a possibility. Radiation would zap all the areas the chemo couldn’t and would prevent the cancer from re-occurring in those areas.
A lot of people have had major concerns with radiation because it has a sordid history of causing secondary cancers. The doctor explained that a lot of those figures are from the 50’s-70’s, when they would just zap the entire chest and neck area. Now, they pinpoint tiny areas and they are just starting to get data from people who started with targeted radiation. Maybe it’s the fact that I was just poisoned for six months, but I’m not that afraid of it. When I asked why I couldn’t just do another round of chemo (which I do NOT want to do) the radiologist responded with “Do you know what’s in Adriamycin?!”. Yes, actually. The devil himself.
Tomorrow I go in for another PET scan and I have all my fingers and toes crossed that this one doesn’t have me puking my brains out again. The joys of gulping radiation!
I have to say, it’s been really, really nice to just feel normal for weeks rather than days in a row. I have moments where things seem normal. I bought some new product for my hair yesterday. It was a bit preemptive, but still exciting. I’ve been able to do things like think about home remodeling and go to school band concerts. One of the things I missed most during treatment was being shallow and frivolous. I painted my nails, visited Sephora, and smelled luxury candles just because I could. We’re even talking, tentatively, about taking a road trip with the boys in the next month-ish. I think we could all use a change of scenery and air and a little bit more sunshine. Just like, in general, though.