I knew it wasn’t gonna be good when I heard the voicemail from my oncologist saying two alarming things: 1. “I want to go over your pet scan results” well, if all was good, it’d be a nurse calling. Also, no mention of the mri or bloodwork I had done at the same time. Just the pet scan. 2. He had me call him back on his cell phone. Yikes. So I call him back and he proceeds to tell me that my scan came back abnormal. I’ll take a sec here to explain the basics of a pet scan for those that don’t know. Also, since I have no clue how it all works or the science behind it, the basics are all you’re gonna get from me! Basically, they inject you with a radioactive dye with sugars in it and then they scan your body to see where the sugars are taken up. Cancer cells uptake sugar faster and in high quantities, so areas with cancer will quite literally light up on a pet scan. You can see where this is going. There are 3 lymph nodes on the left side of my neck now that are uptaking sugar in a way that suggests cancer and one of those lymph nodes is enlarged. For those that don’t know, I had a full lymphnodectomy on the right side of my face and neck (52 nodes removed) and radiation there as well. So here is what it boils down to, I will get a needle biopsy of the enlarged lymph node tomorrow at 2:30 at Penn. I am praying for a fluke! If it is melanoma, then I am kicked out of my comfy stage 3 spot and pushed into stage 4. If it’s stage 4, then I cannot be in the clinical trial that I was signing up for but would be getting the ipilimumab anyway since it’s approved for stage 4. My oncologist seemed to think this would be very odd behavior for melanoma, typically it runs the path down into the organs and doesn’t do a “u-turn” like it is here. That of course makes me hope that it’s just some random fluke and I’m just getting a cold but I don’t want to get my hopes up. If it’s nothing, I can go into the clinical trial as planned. If it’s melanoma, I would probably have to do surgery and radiation all over again but on my left side this time and adding the ipilimumab in there somewhere.
This all makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t know how to react to this. I can’t stop crying and I’m so angry right now. Whether it’s counting my chickens before they’re hatched or not, I can’t help thinking of my kids growing up without me. I can’t stop picturing my hisband laying in bed alone every night. It’s just too much right now. This is not anything I had planned for; I’m not ready for this. I’m not strong enough for this. I don’t know how people do this. Before today, I kept trying to stay ahead of this. When I couldn’t stay ahead, I just tried to keep up saying, “Yup I’m in on this plan and I’m along for the ride.” But I feel left behind now. Like I’m just watching my life run away from me and I can’t do anything to stop it. I feel so helpless. And just so sad. I know it’s not confirmed stage 4 and I know that even then there’s hope. I don’t want to feel like this but I can’t seem to shake it. This song pretty much sums it up: “Worn” beautiful song, but I never really wanted to relate to it on this level. I feel like I’m done trying to make sense of this. I’m just throwing my hands up in the air and surrendering. I know I will have better days soon and things will seem brighter tomorrow, but for now I’m just so, so sad about all this.
But it doesnt change a few facts: I have the best family and friends, God is good, and we are gonna have a blast in Florida next week!!! My sister made this meme of Brit: