Well, it’s been 179 days since that first phone call from my doctor with the news about the cancer diagnosis. A lot has happened in those 179 days, but today was the best day!
I’m cancer free!
Today, Shirley and I met with the oncologists to review the results of last Thursday’s PET scan and the results could not have been better. The Dr. said that there are “no signs of any active disease in you body.”. From the PET scan report…”There has been a complete metabolic resolution of the patients lymphoma.”, translation – no cancer!
So, what’s next? Well, there are a few follow-up activities. On December 19th I’ll have the port removed from my chest. It was great to have, but I won’t be sorry to see it go. There will be two years of follow-up appointments with the oncologist, every 3 months for a year and then every 6 months.
To all our family, friends and church, thank you all for your love, prayers, support, concern, encouragement, food, and help that you’ve given Shirley and I on our journey through this process. It has all been very much appreciated!
Today and every day we’re celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness to us. So thankful for all He has seen us through past, present & future. God is good.
I’m at St Boniface hospital for the standard blood work and a visit with the oncologist. I’m feeling good and the visit should be uneventful.
I have a few questions, most I suspect will not have a clear answer. Things like “Are you sure the Cancer is still gone?”. It seems that the blood work tells them next to nothing about the presence or absence of cancer in my body. I’ll ask again about scans or x-rays but so far it’s been a “no go”.
After meeting with the doctor she confirms that there will be no scans due to the radiation exposure unless there are symptoms warranting a scan. So, no scan just for a casual look see.
One thing I’d totally forgotten about was the follow-up MUGA scan post-chemo that took place back in March 4, 2019. It seems that I didn’t get off total free from some negative effects of one of the chemo drugs. My left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) decreased from 67% to 50% which was described as “significant” but “at the lower end of the normal range”. A caveat was noted that “the patient” positioning was different between the two scans. I didn’t notice this until later so I didn’t get to discuss this with the doctor. Now believing Ps 103:1-5 more that ever, especially v4 where is says “Who redeems my life from destruction” – the “destruction” to my heart that the cancer/chemo caused will be redeemed and restored to it’s proper function, capability & capacity.
This is the second PET scan to see what’s happening to the cancer in.my body. Of course the preferred and expected result is that nothing is found.
The test itself is quite uneventful which is ways good. After the screening and getting set up with the radioactive sugar injection (sounds harmless right?) I’m in the recliner resting under a warm blanket for one hour.
Into the tube is next with arms over my head and wrapped up in warm blankets again because the scanner is in a seriously cool room. Three passes in and out of the tube and I’m done, none to soon as one of my arms is beginning to cramp. All in all its a 2 hour process.
Next stop is on Monday with the oncologist to get the report.
The big day is here! The Chemo cycles are officially over and I’m looking forward to getting a few things back like my immune system, normal blood work, my full energy level, and my hair (or what’s left of it 🙂 ). Next milestone will be the PET scan on November 1st, and the subsequent doctors report.
First off, relax, it wasn’t that “urgent”, I was just following up on the dizziness thing.
Th Urgent Care Clinic was awesome! they provided very quick, and thorough examination to investigate my symptoms. The diagnosis was narrowed down to a couple of possibilities.
The most likely possibility is a viral infection of the vestibular nerve, called vestibular neuritis, which can cause intense, constant vertigo. Thankfully, mine is not too intense. This would link in with the cold I’ve had for about 4 weeks.
Well, something new is going on. For the last three days I’ve been experiencing what I’ll call “dizziness”. This is something different from the periodic experience of getting up and feeling very light-headed and the possibility of fainting.
This new dizziness, loss of balance is a constant thing where I need to exert extra effort to walk in a straight line and find myself holding on to things to steady myself. I checked in with my oncology nurse and she’s going to discuss with the doctor. I’ve not heard back yet. The advice was I it was “bad” or I was super concerned to go to the ER. Not there yet, so I’ll wait it out for a bit more and see what happens. My GP is booked up and I couldn’t get an appointment until near the end of the month.
I did a little shopping today which involved a lot of head swivelling and looking around which really aggravated the symptoms. After a while my stomach started to feel a little queasy. Sitting still and lying down are all good. Not exactly conducive to being active and getting things done.
I rode the bike yesterday for a couple of hours and surprisingly it didn’t cause too much trouble. The ride was pretty good for the first 50km and then I really started to feel tired.
The cold, which is still hanging on into week three now, seemed to cause me to struggle on the slightest climbing efforts and breathe abnormally hard. Also, an annoying running nose which just wouldn’t let up probably didn’t help.
Over the last few days when lying down, rolling over or getting up I had a cough. Not the typical tickle in the throat cough but one where you breathing fine, then there is an increasing gurgling feeling in your chest that increases with each breath until you are forced to cough and then it goes away for a while (minutes) and then is starts all over again. After a longer period of time (30-60 minutes) as long as I don’t change positions, it settles down and I can try to fall asleep. A couple of nights were nasty as getting up for the bathroom triggers the whole coughing thing and the meds & extra water intake are making getting up in the night a frequent event. Thankfully, last night, no coughing! Hopefully, that’s over.
Another highlight for today, the last injection of Grastofil ! Yahoo!
Feeling frustrated, tired, sorry for myself, angry and who knows what else after a night of being up every 2 hours. Will this cold ever let go? Does my life now revolve around peeing? Is there going to be a “normal” in my future?
I know it’s just a temporary thing and I’m trying not to slip into a dark hole but it’s a bit of a struggle today for some reason. I really crave a good night’s sleep.
Thankfully, fittingly on Thanksgiving Day, I read this and find it speaks to me.
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
Hebrews 10:36 NLT
Patient endurance – I will calm myself and rest in this.
I have so much to be thankful for. A wonderful wife who encourages me so much. A great family who support me in so many ways. Good and steadfast friends and a God who loves me beyond my wildest dreams.