Friday, January 19, 2007

PSA

I received a notice in the mail yesterday that I have been scheduled for three sets of CT scans on February 1st, to find out if the six sessions of chemo have conquered my tumors. These will include scans of my chest, abdomen, pelvis, and neck. With contrast.

That means of course that I will have to glug down two bottles of the hideous chalky milky nauseating contrast medium stuff exactly one week after my final chemotherapy session. Oh please do stay tuned for that, it should be just all kinds of fun and excitement. But if you had plans to be anywhere near the radiology waiting room at Our Lady of the Damned on that day, I seriously advise you to think about canceling. It's not going to be pretty.

Anyway, I'm not sure why the oncologist prefers the CT scans to a PET scan. Possibly because a PET scan runs about $5,000 while the full series of CT scans will only cost around $800. But it may also be because I already have baseline CT scans of my tumors before treatment, whereas I've never had a PET scan yet. And I've read that some radiologists do prefer CT scans over PET scans for my type of tumor because the PETs tend to produce a lot of false positives. But then so do the CT scans. So who knows.

I'll have the scans on Thursday February 1st, then I'll get the results at my next oncology clinic appointment which is Tuesday February 6th. This is where the PSA comes in. The acronym "PSA" conveniently stands for both pre-scan anxiety, and post-scan anxiety, to cover all the days in between now and the moment when some 12 year old resident I've never seen before in my life tells me whether or not the deadly cancer cells are still lurking in my body. These are the days when molars are ground to dust, fingernails are gnawed to bloody stubs, and much quality time spent bonding with comforting old pals like Ben and Jerry. If I had any hair, I would probably be giving myself compulsive trims at midnight.

If the news is bad it will be extremely disappointing and discouraging, but it's far from the end of the line. There are still a bunch of promising tools in my toolbox, aggressive and miserable but potentially effective options. I've done lots of research and I'm prepared to deal assertively with whatever they throw at me. But right now I'm just focusing on getting myself through the next two weeks with all my faculties intact, even if that means curling up under my desk with a box of Ring Dings and the complete Patsy Cline box set. Y'all are welcome to crawl up under here with me, if you're so inclined.

12 Comments:

Anonymous leslie said...

I'm new to your blog - spent a good amount of my morning yesterday going back into the archives.

A couple things I would like to say: I think you're an amazing writer. I hope you have wonderfully good news after the upcoming tests. You are the exact kind of person I would choose as a friend.

Okay, I know three is not the same as a couple, but that's how I am.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous leslie (the other one) said...

Love that nice interval between scans and results - chocolate is obviously essential.

I think cat scans are pretty standard for checking for possible spread of tumors - certainly was both of my parents' experience and they weren't in a state program but had medicare + I hope yours show nothing but what they should and that the couple of weeks of wait & chemo go quickly.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Ya Looblue said...

i'll bring my Babylon 5 DVDs...
xoxo *~Sarah

6:19 PM  
Blogger mo said...

Consider yourself with company. I will certainly go up under the desk with you - and even ferry the goodies back and forth as needed.

Hugs-
Mo
http://catharsisqueen.wordpress.com/

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Christina Shaver said...

And here I thought PSA was Public Service Announcement. Keeping all kinds of fingers crossed for you and sharing the anxiety...

9:52 PM  
Blogger Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
While brushing my teeth now,
And wondering which hair to wear now,
I say a little prayer for you

Forever, and ever, you'll stay in my heart
and I will love you
Forever, and ever, we never will part
Oh, how I love you
Together, forever, that's how it must be
To live without you
Would only mean heartbreak for me.

I say a little prayer for you.

Me channeling Dionne Warwick

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Celia said...

Gettin crowded!!! As soon as I find that first season of "Friends" I bought and never watched, I'm there.

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Kimberli said...

lol I'm too big to fit under the desk with you but I can snuggle well :D - can I play some carly simon or charolette church tho?

9:35 AM  
Blogger Cheri said...

I'll curl up right next to you if you let me wear one of your scarves. ;)

Hang in there.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Hi - I just finished reading your entire blog. As many other commenters have said - you're an amazing writer (and person). Thanks for sharing this with all of us.

Looking forward to reading more...

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Linda J. said...

Gilmore Girls would be great entertainment, served with my favorite cake, "Death by Chocolate". Keep on keepin' on, Dr. Leda. You are amazing in every way.

1:52 PM  
Blogger Alto2 said...

I thought PSA referred to the prostate antigen test, and then I said to myself, "WTF??" Public service announcement? No. You really had me going.

I will only join you under your desk if I can bring Ho-Hos. And, I will only stay there if we can read really trashy novels to pass the time.

But most of all, I echo and absolutely love Christopher C in Hawaii's post: I, too, say a little prayer for you. [and my singing is pretty darn good!]

4:26 PM  

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