July 6, 2018
After the PET last week, the oncologists got together with the radiologists, pulmonologists (lung docs) and gastroenterologists (gut docs) to talk about my “new” area of concern. It was decided that rather than do a bronchoscope, it would be easier to access the area by doing an endoscopy with ultrasound.
Today, I went in for the approximately 30 minute procedure. After a rather lengthy conversation with the anesthesiologist, I opted to be sedated with propofol rather than general anesthesia. I’m tired of waking up in a complete fog and staying that way for the rest of the day afterward. The other benefit to not having general anesthesia, in this case, is that they don’t have to put a tube in my airway and I don’t come out with the dry, scratchy throat like last time. This is another one of those quality of life choice things where cancer patients in particular, take the side effects to treatments of any kind as the de facto way things are supposed to be. Why suffer if you don’t have to?
When the procedure was done and I was nominally awake, the doctor came in and told me that the node was positive for metastatic cancer based on her experience and what she saw. She said she was sorry before leaving. I haven’t heard that in a while. I also hadn’t really taken in the gravity of what was behind those words.
I had a long appointment with the Radiation Oncologist this morning. She’s got the dosimetrist working on a new plan that incorporates the new node. The Medical Oncologist took my case back to the tumor board today. She is conferring with the other breast oncologist and also the SCCA community to see what they think the best options forward will be. The current thoughts are to add this area to the radiation plan, maybe add another chemo along with the radiation and nuke the whole thing and hope that takes care of it. The drawback would be finding that it had metastasized further in a few months time. The gravity of where I am now is settling in.
The question is why my body gave up on fighting this node. What made this one different that it grew while I was on 4 different types of chemo in the last 7 months? We won’t know until the cytopathology comes back if it’s got a different characteristic than the others or not. This wait is a hard one. Back in October, I knew the outcome would be that I had cancer. This time, I’m at the mercy of the lab and my medical team to figure out what’s going on and figure out the best way to treat it.