Well we finally heard back, and the picture is a little clearer, but still a bit murky.
My scan results were posted on my portal—first the PET, then the MRI. Both said the same thing: no sign of malignancy.
Yay! A clear scan is never a bad thing. At almost 3 years in, I’ve hit the point where many people who were diagnosed about the same time as me are nearing the end: they’ve stopped responding to treatment, are going into hospice, and several have passed away.
It’s not lost on me that I’m unbelievably lucky to have my body still responding as well as it does to chemo.
And yet. A totally clear scan means they can’t visualize anything—which means ablation, my best chance of wiping things out completely, is now off the table.
And it also means more chemo is...on.
That was the message I got today from Dr Kemeny’s office: no ablation, continue chemo.
I mean, we kind of knew that the ablation would probably not be possible. But if this is just going to become a game of whack-a-mole, I really have no interest in longer periods of chemo and shorter breaks. The last time I had a clear scan, I had 8 additional “mop-up” chemo cycles to try to get rid of any microdisease - and I still had a recurrence. Why would I expect anything different this time around?
Still, I was coming to grips with the recommendation when I got a call from Dr Mulcahey at Northwestern, who had the opposite perspective: “Take a break. Your levels have been low, and you’re not recovering as fast as you should be.” She proposed a 6 week break and then another scan—so if it pops back up, ablation or resection might be feasible again.
I’ll be honest, I liked this recommendation better. But is that because it’s the right call—or because chemo, even when you’re starting to figure out how to deal with it, is just really freaking awful?
I decided to try to meditate. Maybe my intuition would guide me on what to do. I fell asleep instead—I’m still a beginner.
On Monday, I have labs downtown at 8—and a telemedicine appointment to speak live with Dr Kemeny at 9. I’ll hear why she’s made her recommendation, and then I’ll have to make the call that feels right to me. Maybe I’ll have chemo and maybe I won’t, and I’m going to try to spend the weekend not agonizing about it.
“Allow” has been my mantra lately. I’ve made a conscious choice not think of myself as fighting or being a warrior—but I have struggled to give up the illusion of control in a situation where in fact I don’t have as much as I would like.
“My future will find me,” I tell my therapist, and as I say it, I know this is right.
Tonight I had dinner with two of my oldest friends. We were all type A achievers in college, and I was struck by how different our conversation was versus the last time we had been together, just a few years ago. Our discussion had been dominated by talk of promotions and masters degrees and new careers. Tonight we spoke of fulfillment and purpose and happiness.
I sipped on a shared glass of rose and nibbled sushi (hold the raw fish) and let the feeling of their love and friendship wash over me.
I don’t know yet what Monday will be, or the day after that, or the day after that. But my future will find me—and one way or another, I will be ok.