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Progress scans are inconclusive

August 15, 2015 | Cancer

It has been 4 weeks since my last chemo treatment and so it was time for a CT scan to look at my progress. I had the scan last Thursday (Aug. 13) and got the results yesterday.

My tumors haven’t shrunk. In fact, they appear larger in some ways, though its hard to tell as we were comparing an MRI to a CT scan.

Needless to say I was, and still am, simply dumbstruck.

The Oncologist said that while this isn’t abnormal, it is rare. That it could be the tumor is actually dead and will shrink slowly. As we can’t glean any more information from the CT scan we’ll be doing a PET scan in a few weeks. PET scans use a radioactive marker to measure activity at the cellular level so we should be able to see wether the tumors are active or not. Maybe they are teratomas?

Why a few weeks and not right away? I’m not sure. Why not try to biopsy? I don’t know. I left the doctor’s office in a bit of a funk. My wife couldn’t accompany me so I didn’t have her level head there to ask more poignant questions before I stumbled out.

So, What’s Next?

Now we wait for the PET scan results. This isn’t the end of the line. There are 2nd line chemo treatments and possibly surgery available if the tumors are still active. If they’re not active I’m not sure what we do. We wait and monitor? I forgot to ask that question.

The thought of more chemo is horrifying at this point. Granted, I don’t know what the schedule for the 2nd line treatment would be, but I just can’t fathom more going through chemo as my only experience has been with a heavy treatment regimen. The thought of surgery isn’t that much better as the location of the large tumors is riddled with major nerve centers and arteries. Screw ups could have monumental effects.

Should the PET scan come back with active tumors we’ll be seeking a 2nd opinion from a more prestigious cancer center. It won’t be cheap but it’ll help with piece of mind. Should the solution come up as surgery we’ll be pushing hard for Kaiser to send us out of network to one of these specialized centers.

So as of right now it is hurry up and wait. Something that I’m not very good at…

This post is part of the thread: The Wailing Wookiee – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.