When I met with Dr. B this week, we took some time to review my most recent cat scan. This is something that has left butterflies in my stomach for a while. While everything up to this point has been extremely positive (ie. blood work, markers, how I feel in general, etc.), the cat scan would show definitively whether the cancer has shrunk and if the chemo is working. I was surprised when I didn't receive a call from my doctor with any news, since he typically calls me right away with good news. I chalked it up to the holidays and that he was probably enjoying some time with friends and family. Then came my appointment. It was probably the most anxious I have been since being initially diagnosed. In my mind, this was a crucial point in my treatment. It was time to find out if all of this has been for naught. I was scared, excited and unbelievably nervous all at the same time. Clover came with me to the appointment, which is something I strongly recommend to anyone that has to see a doctor regarding serious news (not necessarily Clover, but anyone who can lend another set of ears. Though in my opinion, she is the best at it). I heard exactly what I wanted to hear. The cancer cells have shrunk throughout my body. The treatment is working. Dr. B listed some examples of specific tumors and how much they shrunk by. The examples explained in the cat scan showed shrinkage of I think around 25%-50%. With this, the weight lifted from my shoulders and a large sigh of relief was finally exhaled. I know that the battle is far from over, but I am glad to see we are making progress.
I’ve come to realize that there is a strange duality between me and Ryan. And not because we are literally two individuals. I mean in more of an opposing yet complementary yin/yang sort of way. This was partially addressed in a previous post discussing Ryan’s and my views on Positive Thinking. Most days, I find myself hanging on to the ankles of a happy-go-lucky Ryan Balloon, trying my hardest to keep contact with our tether on the ground. However, when we are faced with seriously scary, potentially (further) life-altering scenarios that actually threaten to toss Ryan back down to Earth, I find myself taking on the Pollyanna role instead. In the week prior to his appointment, Ryan asked me several times what I thought the CT results might be. Though he kept his tone light, it’s hard to keep that gut-crushing type of apprehension from showing through. I knew because I felt it too. But of course we couldn’t both be insane with worry for a week, so I began to emit the famous Ryan West Positivity. The labs have been good, you're gaining some weight, you've got more energy, you're feeling good, hopefully the CT will reflect that...
As you read in Ryan’s post above, luckily it was very good news. Though the report does not list every single tumor, it does list the more significant ones, and the majority of them seem to have shrunk quite a bit. The report also shows findings suggestive of shrinkage of the primary tumor as well. Somewhat ambiguous, expectedly so, but still a damn good result. The plan moving forward, providing everything works out with insurance (there is a slight kink apparently with insurance being accepted with the hospital), we will continue with 2 more cycles of chemo, followed by consultations with a liver specialist and a radiation oncologist.
And so: Onward and upward.