I just returned from a consultation with Dr. Katz, a radiation oncologist at Kaiser-Permanente. I wanted to know whether that new lesion in my right supraclavicular lymph node could be eradicated through radiation.
She agreed that we probably didn’t want to just wait and see, as another doctor initially recommended. She says the spread of the cancer from my lung to this particular node is a common pattern, and that cancer often keeps traveling…up. Radiation might be a good next step, but chemotherapy combined with radiation could be more effective. She’ll be consulting with other radiation oncologists next Tuesday, then get back to me with a recommendation.
Dr. Katz showed me my recent CT and PET scans. The new tumor is this scary little lump next to my throat. Apparently, it’s also very near nerves controlling my right arm, which could make surgery challenging. I’d prefer to remain in control of my right arm as long as possible, thank you very much. Give me baldness over a limp right arm, anytime!
The fun part was seeing the PET scan: a 3D, semi-transparent Joyce who could be rotated in cyberspace. It’s reassuring to see I still have a heart, along with other crucial parts. While the cancer is still visible in my right lung, it’s greatly diminished. As fascinating as 3D digital-me was, don’t expect to see her posted on my Facebook timeline.
Yesterday I had my first haircut since January 2011: really more of a trim. After a year of being completely hairless, I mightily enjoy having something besides my poodles to wash and comb. Unfortunately, if I have more chemo, I may be canceling all my hair appointments for 2012. Now that I know it’ll probably grow back, not so bad a prospect. The clean head ‘do saves LOTS of money at the hair salon.
So, hairy or shiny-pated, here’s to a cool-headed spring and summer…and another year closer to that 60 mark I’m still sprinting towards.