Thursday, November 14, 2013

3...2...1...Xanax

I had a PET scan this morning, my eighth one since I was diagnosed in August 2011. Somehow, it hasn't gotten any easier to handle the emotions leading up to these things. Predictably, a couple of weeks ago I started getting a little more irritable and a little more sappy than usual.

I start wondering if it's worth it to plant a garden or buy a new pair of jeans because you just never know. A bigger issue than my cancer, garden-wise, is that I am like hospice for plants, my thumb is that black. But still, I start getting anxious about all of the things in my life, not just cancer. Did I remember to shut off the oven? What is that bump on Quinn's neck? Please, God, don't let Chris get deep-vein thrombosis from all his traveling. These thoughts are not helpful and some even border on ridiculous, but that's anxiety.

So when the technician came over to let me out of the machine after my scan this morning, I said, "God, I hate these things," and she replied, "Really? You could have fooled me. You looked so calm in there." Clearly, I missed my calling as an actress.

To be clear, it's not the scan that induces my anxiety, but the results, which I will find out tomorrow.

Worst case scenario: the scan shows progression, meaning the drug I'm on has stopped working. I would have to switch drugs, which would mean a return to something more toxic and all it entails: hair loss, nausea, destroyed immune system, lots of crying.

Also, the longer you're responsive to a particular drug, the better, because -- well, time. Time that researchers can come up with other treatments, time you get to spend with your family, time the cancer -- as one friend described it recently -- spends in a box, doing no damage.

Best case scenario: no evidence of disease (NED), which I last experienced ten months ago. This would mean that the drug I'm on is continuing to work, and work remarkably well. This is the holy grail of cancer statuses. Some women -- I've heard -- have been NED for years on the drug I'm on.

Second-best case scenario: stable/no progression/slight decrease in cancerous activity and/or size of tumors. This would also be acceptable.

If it's either of the two latter cases, I will stay on my current medication, which isn't side-effect free, but it's tolerable. Tolerable is so so SO nice, and it would also mean I'd get to have hair for my first holiday season since 2010.

***

I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 this morning. I have to walk across this bridge from the parking lot to the PET/CT center, which was deceptively peaceful at such an early hour.
I had to sign several forms assuring them I'm not pregnant, they tested my blood sugar, and then they injected me with radioactive glucose. Nothing felt different. I didn't ask any questions; I know the routine. I am becoming old hat at this.

As she shuffled me out the door almost two hours later, the technician told me to have a great weekend. I thought, Well, that depends, but I simply told her, "You, too." I was a little worried I'd start crying or read something newsworthy on her face if I got snarky with her.

Tomorrow I get my results, and then I can lay off the Xanax for a few more months until it's time for the next one of these things.

I'll let you guys know how it goes. Here's hoping for a great weekend.

4 comments:

  1. Xoxoxo. Thinking of you and looking forward to NED news tomorrow!

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    1. Thank you, my friend! I'll keep you (and everyone) posted, of course. XOXO

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    2. You did it!! NED. New Exciting Day.

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