It feels a little dangerous writing this write now….as I’m not sure where my emotions are going to take me. I’m holding back a little in the hopes of not causing any undue collateral damage. With that said…
My oncologist called me with the CT Scan results today. For the very reasons that I didn’t internalize his optimism too much during the last appointment and why I didn’t really care what he said until he actually VIEWED the CT Scan and why I let everyone else express optimism and encouragement while holding neutral, he said the following….
“Like I said during the appointment, CLINICALLY you looked good, but since looking at the scan it shows that your tumors have not reduced in size at all.”
I sort of expected this. I don’t know why, probably as part of my inherent skeptical nature that tends to act as a defense mechanism for me, but there it is regardless. The tumors have not shrunk.
The fluid, on the other hand, that was most noticeable prior to surgery and which kept my stomach distended even after the operation was significantly reduced, and that is most likely from the intra-operative chemo that I was given. That’s a good thing, of course, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of “curing” my cancer.
I questioned my oncologist just to make sure I had everything write as I quickly scribbled notes in my sketchbook.
“So, you’re saying the fluid is significantly reduced, but the tumors have not shrunk in size and there are the same amount of them.”
– “Well, the NUMBER of tumors doesn’t matter. They are everywhere. The way your cancer grows is….it’s more like icing on a cake (well THERE’S a pleasant way to describe it) and I hoped to see a thinning of that layer, from maybe 2 inches to 1 inch, but there has been no thinning. This is what we expected from your current chemo treatments.”
“So, the chemo I’m getting right now doesn’t actually shrink the tumors usually?”
– “Not usually, because it often can’t reach the tumors from that think layer (don’t quote me on how this was being explained…it’s confusing to me a bit…but i’m paraphrasing pretty accurately), and so we hope that SOME of it is getting there and at least keeping the tumors at bay.”
“So, we’re going to continue with the treatments and then at the end of 12 take another scan and…and then form a plan of action (Surgery? More chemo? Nothing? I didn’t ask that part)”
– “Yes. After your last treatment we’ll take another scan and then I’ll be seeing you in April.”
And that was that. Basically. I called my dad to tell him the news and then tried to get back to my design work right away to keep my mind off everything else, though I realized that was an absurd notion as this information began to sink in with all the other coffee shop patrons around me.
I started to react internally. “Fuck…look at THIS guy! Why doesn’t HE have cancer! Damn..this dude can’t even keep his pants up and stuffs his fat face with egg sandwiches and HE doesn’t have to worry about having cancer. Fuck.” I let the anger move out of me and decided it was best to pack up and ride home, though on the way back I could barely find the drive to push hard and just let the hills coast me to my door. I didn’t feel like fighting anymore today.
I’m at my parents now, setting my alarm clock for an early waking to drive in the dark down to my second home of trails for a long solitary trail run as the sun begins to rise. It’s the only thing that sounds good to me…to be away from everything, by myself, in the trails, physically hurting instead of emotionally. That’s what I need most. I don’t need prayers, positive thoughts, healing vibes, etc. I appreciate the expressions, but all that does little to make me feel better. I just need to go do what I do right now.
Finally, this Tuesday I go back in for my 5th chemo treatment and talk to my medical oncologist who also has a copy of the CT Scan. I’ll have more questions for him about the diagnosis, just for clarification, and the continued treatment plan, not to mention what to expect from the side effects as this continues on (I can barely see the words I type right now due to my blurry “chemo eyes”). I have a handful of questions, of course, and hope to understand a little more about the process…and probably ask a few tougher questions as well.
And for now…I”m just going to leave it at that. Just bring me the trails.