PET Scan #3 Results

This will be short and quick, because I am headed out to Canada in the morning to fish for fish (not people which is my normal job), but we are aware many of you have been praying and wondering for the results of Margaret’s PET scan last week. She met with her oncologist today, and he went over the highlights of the results among other things.

The good news – the very good news! – is that nothing “lit up” in the PET scan, suggesting that the chemotherapy and radiation have been effective and the metastatic cancer is not active. Thus, she was graded out as “no evidence of active metastatic cancer.” She is scheduled for a bone scan tomorrow to look for cancer that would not show up on a PET scan … so the champagne is still on ice.

There were some new concerns, which is what we have come to expect with cancer. There is some suspicious activity in her liver and spleen, but her oncologist said “not to worry” about that. Right! We spent some time this evening googling medical terms and gleaning more information. It’s hard not to be a little bit anxious frankly.

I will stop short of interpreting all this for you and how it is impacting us emotionally and spiritually, but suffice it to say that we are generally pleased with what we learned today, but are definitely still “cautiously optimistic.” Bottom-line? Nothing we learned today should change her treatment or prognosis, and we believe that is basically a good thing. Maybe. Probably.

So she lives to fight another day!

Radiation? Check!

A quick post to say that Margaret has now completed the proscribed path of treatment for stage four breast cancer.

Hip Hip Hurrah!

This morning, she walked out of Dr. Jewell’s torture chamber office about 11:30 wearing a new sporty dress and a big smile. She left the office with “release” papers to hugs and handshakes from nurses, office staff and medical techs.

Dr. Jewell called her the model patient.

Of course, she’ll be back in his office in a month to decide what she will need to do next, but tonight we are celebrating this milestone. The champagne is on ice. Do we have to wait until 5:00 pm? (Yes, because I have a wedding rehearsal!)

To review, she started having “problems” last spring which led to an eventual diagnosis of breast cancer which had metastasized on her bones – primarily her spine and sacrum. She had a double mastectomy in November, followed by chemotherapy. Then a PET scan revealed that she additionally had thyroid cancer, which resulted in partial (half) thyroid-ectomy. And now she has completed 7 weeks (35 days) of daily radiation on her neck, chest and spine.

She is seriously burned, worn out and lost a lot of weight, but greatly relieved to be at this point.

Radiation was much harder on her than we expected, particularly the radiation on the spine, which wreaked havoc on her digestive and nervous systems. Of course, the beauty of modern medicine is pain management. Better living through chemicals? She just popped a few more pain pills and plowed through.

Did I say that her doctor said she was the model patient? Her strength should return slowly.

What’s next? She has a regime of daily pills, she gets a monthly infusion to strengthen her bones and she gets a really nasty shot with a really, really long needle once every three months. She may have one more area on her spine radiated after Megan’s wedding, but we will make that decision later. She will continue this path until … it doesn’t work anymore. Then, her optimistic oncologist says we have 12 more options that are proven effective! No worries! Riiiiiight.

Of course, anxiety will remain until the next PET scan which should take place in late August.

So … a round of applause for Margaret for staying strong and pushing through. Clap, clap, clap.

Did I say she’s the model patient?

Megan’s wedding is in two weeks! Let the wedding party begin!