Western education 2013

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

...... next step in my illness....

...... is radiation.  There is a trial, which I do not qualify for but which the Medical Oncologist wants to do.  There are only 4 hospitals in Canada which are running these trials.  The whole idea is to blast the neck and liver lesion at the same time every second day for about 6 weeks.  While there are no other lesions presenting at this time, there is nothing to say that the metastasis is spreading, one microscopic cell after another.  

I sit perched at the end of the examining chair with Dr. Locke pulling his chair across from me so we can have this candid conversation.  I look into his friendly face and I can sense the excitement as he unveils the game plan.  If and only if these are the only two lesions with no metastis anywhere else, then we have a chance to eradicate this illness from you.  Living with this metastasis may mean it can and will spread with widespread involvement at any given time.  Knowing what we know about your CT scan.... this may be your only chance.  "You can take your time to consider this... it is a big decision" he says while looking into my eyes.  "You look great Marita and you have really been taking good care of yourself".  I cross my legs and perch my feet in the crease of the examination chair. "What is your gut about this?" I ask him.  "I want to try this for you and my gut tells me this is the right time and opportunity for this procedure.... know that there are risks for having this done".  "OK, I'm listening, I'm an engineer so give me the details".

He relays to me that the neck lesion is in a predictably tenuous position attached to the nerve and next to the artery.... so, there is a possibility that the nerve gets damaged causing problems with your left arm - swelling, loss of feeling and at the extreme - loss of use.  The lesion on the liver can cause further damage and quite possibly - fatality at the extreme end.  What happens if we do nothing?  There is a possibility that the body will be affected by an unpredictable metastasis in organs. The lump in the neck may grow and cause bleeding and quite likely a metastasis into the brain and other complications.  It may just stay like it is for years and then begin to grow.... its an educated guess based on those before me.  This is the best optimal time for this treatment but once started, we cannot stop.  Would I like to think about it?

I am a practical girl and know I am living on borrowed time... Dr. Locke agrees.  I have had all the time I need to think about this and have decided that we will go ahead with this proceedure.  I will be blasted at twice the strength as I was in my first radiation 4 years ago.  It has to be aligned exactly with the lesions... if not, things won't go well.  The specialists will be involved with another CT scan and to pinpoint the exact location of the lesions... the liver moves and they want to witness the lesion 'bloom' when the contrast hits it from the IV infusion.  They will map out exact locations and they will then be able to use radiation in just those areas.  The lesion in the liver is just at the duct that connects the liver to the gallbladder.  Both lesions have very tight margins and this will take time each dose to properly set up and administer. 

I am hoping that we can get the schedule so it works with my work schedule.... it is important to be able to continue to work in this semester while going through treatments.  It makes it easier for me when I can continue as normal a life as possible.  Radiation does not affect me as it does chemo but this one is the big guns and so only time will tell...... With logistics and signatures on paperwork, I am done for now.  The calls will come in with appointments scheduled.... yay me!!!

I step out into the sunshine and climb into my car.  I call Max to tell him what is going on.  He agrees I made the right decision.... "yes babe, I support you.... you made the right decision".  The tears start when I tell him that I had to choose that route for my family.... he knows just what I mean.  He also knows that I am scared.  This is a big deal but so is living with a cancer that can trigger and grow unchecked and metastasize further....I trust my doctor and coupled that with my healthy habits... I hope for a good outcome.  There are no guarantees in life and in this procedure as well but at least it is an opportunity.  I got home, explained what was going on to the kids and then called my coordinator to give him a heads up and of course spoke to my in-laws.

In other news..... I am continuing to plant and transplant seedlings and they are growing well.  I am in the process of planning an urban garden in my front yard.  The planning will include a small front deck and raised veggie beds to make it easy to weed and dissuade the bunnies from munching!!!  We are also planning on a vertical herb garden against the sunny side of the garage.... this will be a lot of fun to create and watch grow.  With the terrible drought in the states, our imported foods will be costly.  

Keep well and eat to live a great life!!!!

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