After waiting a week I finally got the results back from my PET scan and MRI today. The goal was to get the cancer under control through chemo so that we could do surgery to remove the tumor(s). The times in the past that we discussed the results of chemo the “goal” was to stop micrometastasis, which was deemed important (as a first step) since I have stage 3A lung cancer.
Stopping was the goal. When we asked about how likely it was to spread the answer was something along the lines of “not very*”. When we asked about shrinking the answer was a little more positive but still an iffy, “it might shrink”. So I went in to Dr. Ram’s today thinking that there was about a 10% chance it would be worse, 10% chance it would be better, and an 80% chance it was just the same and we would proceed with “the plan” (I made up those percentages in my head).
I was focused on the 80% “according to plan” but was preparing for the 10% “get your affairs in order”, it didn’t occur to me to think of the other 10%. The other 10% wasn’t in my plan… good thing I don’t make the plans.
As it turns out “it might shrink” was actually THE plan. The golf ball sized tumor shrank about 30% and one of the lymph nodes that was showing up positive didn’t even light up on the PET scan at all.
Dr. Ram sounded as if this was the plan the whole time, but it sure didn’t seem that way to me till today. This is yet another reminder in a series of reminders that I’m not in control of this process, I just get to be along for the ride.
The next step is indeed surgery, I’ll meet with Dr. Force Wed afternoon for the consult. Wed I should find out if the shrinking has improved the the chances that the surgery will be less complicated than what we originally discussed. I can’t imagine it won’t at least help. I’ll also find out when the surgery will be, as of now I only know that it will be the 16th at the earliest.
Pictured: The lung cancer poster in my exam room
*Apparently spreading doesn’t normally happen during chemo. It happens before or after.