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Lymphoma and Pets
The Day My Cancer Went Away
I had my CT scan last Thursday, and then I went to the mainland this weekend for my grandma's celebration of life, and my PET scan, returning to Victoria this morning.
The celebration of life was on Sunday afternoon, and it was a beautiful memorial with a good many wonderful stories, tears, and laughter. Grandma, your time came too early, and you sure are missed, but all of us are comforted by the way in which you live on in our hearts.
On Monday I hung around my parents' house, did a couple errands and chores, and went out for dessert with a friend in the evening.
On Tuesday morning I called my doctor's office and got the results of my CT scan which was really promising:
The large complex anterior mediastinal mass has significantly decreased in size. The dominant 11.3 x 7.2 cm mass has almost completely resolved. A small amount of residual soft tissue thickening is present measuring 4.2 x 1.7 cm. An adjacent 4.7 x 3.2 cm mass previously measured 6 x 5.1 cm. No focal pulmonary nodules. No evidence of pleural or pericarial effusion. The visualized upper abdomen is unremarkable. No focal osseous abnormality demonstrated. IMPRESSION: prominent treatment response.
It was good to hear that the chemo had worked pretty well, even though I knew I was still most likely going to have to undergo radiation therapy.
I wasn't allowed to eat from 7:00 am until after my PET scan, so needless to say, by the time it got underway at 1:30 I was starving. My close friends and family know how much I eat during the day. Anyways, I was taken into a private room and administered the radioactive tracer via IV. The nurse dimmed the lights and told me that I needed to relax for 45 minutes, because if I did much of anything the PET scan would light up in the wrong places and block what they needed to see. I would highly recommend that you go read this Wikipedia article on PET scans because it is incredibly interesting, and the whole "resting thing" will make sense without me trying to explain it here. At any rate, I put on some music on my iPod, and ended up falling asleep. The next thing I knew, the nurse was shaking my foot and yelling my name. Apparently it's hard to wake me up when I'm snoozing. "At least you weren't snoring!" she said. After that, the experience was not much more than a 20 minute long CT scan.
I went to Jericho Beach with some friends following my PET scan, and then met up with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend, for dinner at the Acropol Greek Restaurant on Broadway.
I returned home to Victoria today, and went to work at my after school care job this afternoon.
Fast forward to 3:30 and I was reading a story to the kids when my phone rang. Every call has been something to do with my cancer these days, so I put the book on hold to grab the call. Sure enough, it was the BC Cancer Agency number on my call display, so I asked my coworker to finish reading while I went outside.
The caller was my oncologist and I don't remember exactly what he said because I've been in a bit of a daze ever since, but, well, my cancer didn't show up on the PET scan which means I am in remission, with the statistical chance of recurrence being only 10% over five years. And if the cancer doesn't come back in five years I'll get to say that I'm "officially" cured. I don't need to go see the doctor tomorrow anymore. I don't need to do radiation anymore. I don't need to tell people I have cancer anymore.
I'll be going in for check-ups every three months (the first one is November 29th), and another CT scan in January to keep an eye on things, but for now I think it is pretty safe to say that I just beat Stage 4 Primary Mediastinal Large B-Cell Lymphoma in the Summer of 2012.
Note: For those who have been asking, the "soft tissue thickening" or fibrosis that showed up on the CT scan is normal after having such a large tumor, and it will always be there. Think of it as being kind of like scar tissue.
Thanks for all the love and support, everyone. I honestly don't even know what else to say right now, because the meaning of this is kind of just hitting me. I'm going to try to sleep on it, and then maybe update the blog within the next few days, or who knows, maybe not for a little longer. I think the first thing I need to do is process the whole thing, and try to get back into my "normal" life.
Wow, I'm really overwhelmed right now...
Thanks for reading,Christopher