Monday, October 24, 2011

Results are in

The Pet/CT results are in. Its not exactly what I was hoping for, but its still classified as good news. I'd like a little more information, but in general this is considered to be positive news: the chemo is working and appears to be shrinking the affected areas. The report also mentions that there are "no new abnormalities". 

See the "conclusion" section at the bottom for the bottom line.

In a nutshell, the SUV numbers (Standardized Uptake Rate -- which for some reason does not spell SUV ) are lower. I was also hoping to know if the tumor and/or affected areas that we know about have decreased in size, but this analysis focuses on SUV values and does not discuss tumor and lymph node size. 

The is a CD of the actual scan images on its way down to Mayo where I'll have a followup second opinion/analysis in a week or more. These folks will have measurements and actual pictures to show us, and may have different recommendations for how to move forward based on what they are seeing.

My Oncologist pointed out that we are (as I know) past the point of hoping that the cancer will disappear. We are now in what I think of as the" damage control" aspect of treatment: we're addressing the issues that we can and using proven therapies to keep the tumors and lesions from growing, and shrinking them wherever we can.

He did mention that there is a point of maximal return, where the side effects of chemo outweigh the benefits of treatment. This is part of the reason why stopping treatment for a period of as much as a year will be preferred. I'd certainly like to be off of chemo, though it will be 9 more weeks (until just before Christmas) before I'm done with my 6 cycles.

I know that I am responding to the treatment, but I know I'm also sounding fairly negative about it. I think I had hoped for more shrinkage in the tumor, etc, and a "wow, we can't find this thing at all!" note from the radiologist, but this is still good progress, even if it means that I'm not done with this year's chemo yet. 

Maybe I'm just disappointed that I responded so amazingly well to chemo last year, an -- while I'm still responding -- it feels like I'm responding in what seems like an average and normal manner. By comparison it feels like a setback, but its all still forward progress. 


My dog is continuing to be less-than-100%. She's eating and drinking erratically and has a followup blood test tomorrow (Tuesday) at the vet. She is very tired and seems to be feeling like crap.

The vet will be looking at her kidney values and also looking to see if she's still anemic. They'll be trying to find out if its a kidney infection or the beginnings of kidney failure. At just 10 1/2, she's hardly young but at the same time not old enough to where kidney failure is considered "normal". I'm still hoping that its an infection, based on  the fact that se seemed fine before we put her on all of these pills to cure her. I do trust that the vet has her best interest in mind, but it still hurts to know that I'm currently making my previously normal-looking dog feel like crap by trying to cure a problem that no-one knew she was having a week ago.


raggers said...

But this sounds good!


raggers said...

Ooops. I mean good about you, not Kaia. Here's hoping for her, too.

Back on the subject of you: I would say, based on the combination of how you feel and this report, you're doing VERY well.

John Slade said...

Ehh, yeah, not OMG GONE but certainly going in the right direction. Best with Kaia. Tonka seems to be a little ill at the moment. Hugs and buttwags all around.

Wendy said...

Yay for the shrinkage! Boo for the "not all gone!" You're fighting for your life, Michael.

Here's a prayer for both you and Kaia.

I love you.

lsikora said...

This news sounds pretty good to me!
If your oncologist says you and he are past the point of hoping the cancer will disappear, I still want to believe that while, of course, you aren't out of the woods, and it will always have to be followed, that doesn't mean we can't all continue to hope it will disappear one day - stranger things have happened.

Cathy Crea said...

Though it is good news, I'm sure it feels like another confirmation of the reality of the situation. It'll be one of those things that evolve. There's still lots of fight to go--stand up, keep fighting.

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