We had my cancer check ups today at UNMC. I have the short and long version of what we found out – depending on how much time you have 🙂
No change in my tumor size and tumor markers – which means things are still STABLE! This is good news and no treatment or surgery is necessary for now. We will re-do ultrasound and blood work in 6 months at UNMC. Finally an appointment with good news! We’re not out of the woods, but feeling a little closer for sure.
I have been anticipating today for sooo long…just to know more about what lies ahead for us. The last couple weeks have been hard to really concentrate on much else…always thinking about what my doctors were going to say.
I already knew my ultrasound showed little to no change in the size of my tumors, but didn’t know if the surgeon would think it was time to take them out, or if it was still best to wait. My parents, Neel and I wait anxiously in the exam room for the surgeon to arrive. The PA comes in instead saying the surgeon is gone today and apologized that no one called us.
This appointment was set up months ago…I drove 2.5 hours to be here…my husband, mom and dad all took off work…and I have been rehearsing my questions for him for weeks.
I was not happy, and fought back tears as the PA tried to continue the exam. She could tell I was upset, and said they would try to get ahold of the surgeon and set up another time to meet…but he wasn’t available until 4pm. That’s fine, my second appointment was at 4pm, so we would still be at UNMC to see when we could see the surgeon next. She said she would let us know. It might have to be in a couple weeks.
My 4pm appointment is with my endocrinologist…who again says my ultrasound is virtually unchanged, my tumor markers are unchanged, and basically everything looks the same. She says this is good news! But again, needs to defer to the surgeon on when/how/if to do surgery.
She then gets a page from the surgeon’s office – he came back to meet with me! And he’s right outside! Talk about relief!!
So the surgeon comes in and says he is completely comfortable with not doing a surgery right away. The tumors are still pretty small, making a surgery difficult, and since they haven’t grown, there’s really no danger in leaving them in my neck.
At first, I’m disappointed. I had psyched myself up for making plans to do the surgery, thought up all my questions that I had about this surgery…and now they’re saying just to wait? But as this news sinks in…I am happy! I think since we have heard bad news at virtually all my appointments, it’s hard to recognize good news when it comes.
The surgeon says my tumors might have stabilized for good, or at least for a long time. People can be in this state for 5, 10, even 20 years with no change. I might still need surgery in 6 months, but maybe not. With virtually no change in my tumors in the last 10 months, maybe they’re done growing? Maybe my healthier/ish diet is working? Maybe I’m finally getting a break? Who knows…but I feel so much lighter after today.
I am exhausted after the last couple weeks of anticipating today, and then going through all the stress of today, but it is sinking in that STABLE is a wonderful word…stable doesn’t mean cured, but stable means I’m going to try not to worry about cancer for six months. Stable means we can go on and live our extraordinary, ordinary life – and *gasp* be normal!
Thank you for all the prayers and words of encouragement I have gotten from so many of you who knew I was anxious about today. I don’t know why I worry – God has everything under control. And I was reminded today that I can no way predict or control anything in life – a good lesson for everyone.
The high light of today was going to pick up the kids at my in-laws after a long drive home. Helen is listening to me explain to my mother-in-law what we found out today. Helen’s eyes light up as she says, “Mom, they said no surgery? That’s wonderful!” and runs and throws her arms around me. Yep…life is good…