It has been 15 days since finding out that my cancer has returned.
Hannah and I were caught off guard with the news. It was like being sucker punched, although to be truthful, no allegory can really do justice to the description of how we actually felt. The pain hurt though, it hurt alot. We processed it for a couple of days, shedding tears and coming to terms with the news. Somehow, hearing you have cancer for the third time was worse than the other two, or so it seemed. Maybe we just numbed the memories of the previous revelations in order to cope. The mind can do funny things like that.
Waking in the morning for the first couple of nights was like re-living the news. I didn’t have cancer in my dreams.
Slowly, we have both moved to acceptance. To the place we were in prior to surgery even being an option. Although knowing that this time, with the cancer in the liver, that place is a little more real.
Over the past week I have sat and discussed with one of the surgeons who operated on me, and who would potentially operate in the future. The consensus is that operating now would be a bad idea. Generally speaking, extra-hepatic metastases contraindicate liver surgery. However, if my cancer can remain stable, which means little to no growth and no new metastasis over the next 6-9 months, surgery could be reconsidered. In the mean time, I’m going to re-start chemotherapy and hope that the cancer remains responsive to it.
I am yet to meet with my oncologist, so the details of my chemo regime has yet to be determined. I’m going to guess that I would restart on the same regime as I was on previously, as other options remain largely in the unfunded and horrendously expensive category. All of this will be explored in the not to distant future.
In the mean time, I have started back at work as originally planned. It has been good to get back into something I really enjoy, although it seems a little bittersweet. I will probably go back to part time once I know what my chemotherapy will be like and how it will impact my ability to work.
Till next time…
Deep Disappointment is a term that barely scratches the surface of how I feel.
Yesterday I went to see my radiation oncologist for an appointment that was all about the planning of my radiotherapy. I had a PET scan the week before to help them get a better idea how my anatomy was after the surgery.
What I got was news that caught me completely off guard.
The cancer is back.
My heart sank. This wasn’t supposed to happen… Not like this.
Hannah wasn’t with me at the time, she was at a clinic in preparation for her long case exam. This was supposed to be a routine oncology appointment, I have had hundreds of them. I guess my suspicians were raised when I was brought into the clinic on time, almost immediately after my arrival. That doesn’t normally happen.
The PET shows in a 2.5cm lesion in the right lobe of liver, this is a huge amount of growth since it was non-existent on my last PET in January. Further to this, there are two extra areas that have shown increased update of the radioactive isotope they use for the PET. They are small, less than 1cm, one in my mesentry, the other in the retro-peritoneal para-aortic lymph chain, near where they opereated. The optimist might say they are reactive as a result from surgery. The realist, when all things are equal, would say this is further disease.
I came home.
Breaking this to Hannah was going to be worse than hearing it. I tried writing….
It didn’t work.
We dared to hope that we might regain a normal life. It was a dare that was repayed with shattered expectations and destroyed dreams. Cancer is a bit mean like that.
It makes grown men cry.
Today I feel deflated, like a balloon with no air. I think it will take a few days to regain the puff to reinflate again.
From here it is a bit of an unknown and the roadmap will become clear in the coming weeks. There is talk of further surgery to resect the part of the liver with the node in it, and there will likely be more chemotherapy.
I was supposed to be returning to work full time in just over week, I guess that wont be happening now….