Friday, July 9, 2010

My Own Version of Fireworks

June came and went as fast as fireworks explode and disappear. It was great to get back to the firm, working again with the people who gave me so much support. When I paused to catch my breath, it was the 4th of July -- a time for family, friends, BBQ and red-white-and-blue cupcakes. Almost as soon as I returned home from a grand fireworks display, I headed out on I95 toward Johns Hopkins to see Dr. Georgiades for another PET/CT scan. I now have a juggling act to maintain, making sure that cancer no. 2, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) doesn't stir up cancer no. 1, Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Breast (ACCB). This was a trip to check on cancer no. 1.

In late April, my last PET scan showed a "hot spot," which did not show up on the CT part of the test. Since there was no good explanation for this discrepancy, we decided to repeat the test in 2 months. I could feel myself getting weary, thinking about having to have another radiofrequency ablation (RFA) so soon after finishing treatment for leukemia. But my spirits were lifted as soon as Dr. Georgiades entered the room. He usually comes in with copies of images from the PET/CT, hot off the radiologist's digital griddle. Or he comes in with drawings of my lungs, showing spots where previous tumors have been killed, along with sites of untreated tumors. This time he was empty handed. The hot spot had disappeared, and nothing was lighting up anywhere! No evidence of cancer -- only the same few little ditzels that haven't changed in the 2 years I've been going to Hopkins. I don't have to go back for another scan until January. I'll always need to be followed because cancer no. 1 grows so slowly. It's been known to show up after decades of dormancy. But I can't complain about that. At least we can see it coming and zap it in its tracks.

Driving back from Baltimore in 105 degree heat, as the fireworks were going off in my head, my heart, and my ex-disease ridden lungs, two things occurred to me: 1. Killing metastatic tumors often results in more tumors growing back, sometimes more aggressively. Cancer finds new pathways when the old ones are destroyed. That hasn't happened to me.  2. Having my bone marrow completely destroyed by tons of chemotherapy may have easily triggered any remaining lung metastasis to become active. Without an immune system, it stands to reason that another lingering cancer that doesn't respond to chemotherapy would have had a field day. That hasn't happened either.

I'm tempted to have a party! Oh, but wait. The last time I had a party to celebrate good PET/CT results, I was diagnosed with leukemia 48 hours later. My next milestone will be next month, when I will have another bone marrow biopsy. Unfortunately, these quarterly stabbings are the only way to confirm remission. Until then, I'll celebrate the simple things in life, like my cat, Sadie, and all her feline antics. And Snowball, the dancing cockatoo. I love Snowball. He dances like there's no tomorrow.  I learned of him on CBS Sunday Morning, and I think he's my new best friend. My favorite performance is Another One Bites the Dust, but he also takes the music of the Backstreet Boys, Lady Gaga and Stevie Nicks to a whole new level.  I wonder what Sadie would think of Snowball.  And another version of fireworks is born...



No comments:

Post a Comment

If you don't have a Google email account and you don't know which "profile" to choose, select the Anonymous option. If you'd like your name to appear, you may sign your comment. Thank you!