Joan and I met with my oncologist this afternoon. The appointment started out with great news: I’ve lost another 6 lbs over the past couple of weeks. Next, more good news: the cancer doesn’t appear to have spread. At least, not to my brain, neck or other organs. After this, things went kind of down hill.
After a wait of 2 weeks for scan results, they still don’t know what’s going on beneath the ‘dense, nodular infiltrate’ obscuring my right lung. This means the cancer could be there…or it could be gone. They do know that there’s ‘marked abnormal FDG activity’ (it glowed). This can indicate cancer, or just the radiation pneumonitis I seem to have developed. Hey, I’ll take the pneumonitis over cancer, any day of the week. Pneumonitis may be treated by prednisone; untreated pneumonitis can lead to permanent lung scarring, AKA “radiation fibrosis.” In case I survive this journey through cancer, I’ll be needing my lungs, preferably unscarred. Prednisone comes with a long list of delightful side effects, such as a puffy, “moon face,” personality changes and yet more insomnia. I think a moon face will go nicely with my current baldness. Hey, it’s only June, and I already have my Halloween costume planned! Combined with the personality change, I may get to become a whole new person before this is all over. I hope she’s not boring, yet likes to clean house during those long, insomniac nights.
Before we left Kaiser, the nurse scheduled me for another CT scan for June 30. They think the CT scan may show what lurks, or doesn’t lurk, beneath the ‘dense infiltrate.’ They’ll wait to start me on prednisone until my other doctors are consulted.
Joan and I decided to celebrate my 6 lb weight loss and no-sign-of-cancer-in-the-brain with a meal at Palermo, an Italian American restaurant of the red sauce and chianti bottle variety. I’ve been going to Palermo for nearly 35 years and believe their meat sauce to be curative; it is the only restaurant I’ve ever ordered spaghetti in. Once seated in our red leatherette booth by our robust server, we felt better; nearly normal. We didn’t have all the answers to our questions, but now we had garlic bread, pasta and each other. And, at that moment, what else did we really need?