Monday, June 13, 2011

Change of Plans

At the beginning of my last post, I posed the question,
If you have to deal with not so good news, is it better to find out about it and take action when things are  "back to normal" or when things are kind of better but not so great?
The plan for ablating the newly discovered lesion in my right lung on June 15th has been put on hold for three months.  It appears that taking action when I'm stronger and things are, well, closer to "back to normal," is a better way to go.

I took my reports from Johns Hopkins to Dr. Rowley, who reminded me that three things can "light up" on a PET/CT: inflammation, infection and cancer.  Dr. Rowley suspects that the lesion might actually be an infection rather than a tumor, which would be great news!  (I never thought I'd be hoping for a lung infection.)  He also told me that inflammation from a radiofrequency ablation may trigger GVHD.  That would not be good.  Ablating an infection instead of a tumor would also not be good.  He consulted with Dr. Georgiades and they decided that, since ACCB grows so slowly, it's better to ablate when we are able to confirm that the lesion really is a tumor and when I'm not at risk for triggering GVHD.  The plan now is to have a chest CT in two weeks to see, what, if any changes appear.  Because I haven't had any symptoms of infection, I suspect that the new lesion is a tumor, and if it is, I'm off in September for RFA #5 to ablate tumor #8.  In any event, that lesion shouldn't get too comfortable....

Other aspects of my recovery are status quo:  I'm still having trouble eating, my appetite is pitiful, the tremors are coming back as I taper off the steroids for the third time, and I'm still hovering around 93 pounds.  On the upside, I feel like I'm getting stronger, I'm able to do more, and I'm seeing more friends and extended family than I have for the last nine months.  Because my blood counts are so good, it's safe for me to resume some of the things I used to do (like going to church, taking walks, etc.) and this keeps me sane.  I've also been going to support groups, through which I've been able to network with other survivors and learn about projects, research and events relating to blood cancers.

Although my days are busy when I'm feeling well, I'm antsy to get on with it.  Enough with this recovery stuff.  I never imagined that I'd measure my progress by the seasons.  Transplants are hard on people with Type A personalities.  I've never been a very patient patient.  But that's how it is, and I'll get there eventually.  The most important thing is that I'm in remission and I'm getting stronger.  If only someone would tell my tummy!  For now, I have three immediate goals:  recover enough to return to work, get rid of this lung lesion one way or another, and get medical clearance for a glass of pinot noir!  That's not too much to ask, is it?