Every six weeks since my diagnosis I have had follow-up scans to check the status of my disease. I had scans today in Syracuse and for some reason I was more anxious and nervous about it than usual. All my anxieties were put to rest when Dr. Scalzo opened the door and exclaimed "great news" before he even stepped in the room!
The scans I get every six weeks are to ensure that the cancer hasn’t spread, to check the tumor and ensure it isn't growing and to determine whether or not we are still on the right track. Today's scans showed no new lesions or tumors and showed that my tumor has shrunk more since the last set of scans. The current size is 3.9 x 3.4 cm (in October it was 8.4 x 5.2 cm) which means that the chemotherapy is still working to both stop the spread of the cancer and keep the tumor under control.
I am not sure why I was so anxious going into my scans today. I think it's a combination of the fact that I haven't been feeling well lately (chemo sickness, pain, etc), some new pains I have been getting (every strange feeling I get gets my mind wandering) and some new information/research I have received about my kind of cancer (which wasn't very elevating). I came across a study released in June 08 by the Cancer Society and the Mayo Clinic that is a study of every case of malignant primary cardiac tumor seen at the Mayo Clinic since 1975 (which is a whopping 34 cases). Reading it was very informative, but also not very uplifting (I've been aware of the survival rate all along and have never let it get to me, and don't plan to!). One thing that struck me though is the median survival time for cardiac tumors with metastasis (that's me). In this study (and many other's I have come across), it's five months. I will be at the five month mark in two weeks and after getting the good news I got today I am starting to feel comfortable saying that I am winning this battle. I know I have a long way to go, but I feel that today's results were a big milestone for me, especially because my disease hasn’t progressed (in fact it's regressed) in 20 weeks and these results cleared the way for me to begin radiation next week (which is another milestone I am excited about). My doctors rock.
The worst part about this is, to date, is waiting. It's like I am living my life six weeks at a time right now and can't think much further ahead than that. I have six more chemo treatments (I get this Friday off and start again on 3/13) and after that we go back to Boston to find out what's next. It's unsettling to know that I might be having surgery…but I might not. I think I will have it in May...but it might not be until July. It's hard to make plans and look into my future much more because of all the uncertainty around this. I don't know if I should register for school (I am three classes away from my M.S. degree) or if I should book a trip to Vegas this summer (and I have to plan a trip to Yankee Stadium!). I shouldn’t complain though, because if that's the worst part of what I am going through right now I guess you'd say I am doing pretty good.
I will post later this week when I know more about radiation and what's going on with that. To be honest, I haven't done too much research on it but I need to get on that. I go on Wednesday to be "mapped", which is another CT scan (or set of scans) that maps out where they are going to hit me with radiation starting next week. Thanks again to everyone for all you are doing for me. We have so much support and love and it never slows down and I absolutely believe that it's a huge part of where I am right now with this.