Monday, February 2, 2009

Almost in the End Zone – One More Ablation

Regardless of who you routed for, that Super Bowl was a hell of a game. (The best part, for me, was the halftime show with Bruce and the E Street Band.) That game sort of reminded me of the road that I’ve been on for the past few years: I couldn't tell who was winning from one play to the next. Cancer lends itself to a lot of football analogies. I scored field goal last week when I went for a PET/CT scan and got some great news.

Getting a follow up scan always brings up mixed feelings. I look forward to finding out if the good health that I feel is really betraying me on the inside. I want as much information as possible, but I dread that feeling of free fall if the news is negative. I fantasize about being told that my cancer is regressing, becoming undetectable. I know that day will come. I can’t tell you why I know that. I just do. It may be years from now, and the ride getting there may be bumpy, but eventually this period of activity will die down and go dormant.

So off to Hopkins I went last Friday for a PET scan and a consult with Dr. Georgiades. I could tell that the news was good from his demeanor. No new tumors. Best of all: the tumors that were ablated at the end of August, including the one that was right next to my aorta, are toast. And from all indications – there is still some inflammation from the two ablations in November – the other four tumors that were ablated also appear to be completely dead. I wasn’t surprised to hear this, since I was extremely positive about RFA and its potential for my type of cancer, but I still felt shaky with the good news and emotionally raw. I think I have a heightened appreciation for the relief that the passengers of Flight 1549 must have felt when they finally stepped out of icy water and onto solid ground. That’s what getting good scan results feels like: stepping onto solid ground.

I still have a few little spots, what Dr. Georgiades calls ditzels. But because they are so small, he’s not willing to declare them as tumors right now. One of them, however, looks a little bit fuller, and because it’s in the neighborhood of a major bronchus that supplies 90% of the oxygen to my lower right lung, he thinks that we should ablate it before it becomes risky. So I’m scheduled for one more RFA procedure on my lower right lung on Thursday, February 12th. Since I’ve had time to recover from the last two ablations in November, I’m hoping this will be a same day procedure. I’m thinking of it as an odd little act of love for myself this Valentine’s Day. More importantly, it’s one step closer to a touchdown.