Dr. Panwalkar walked into the exam room yesterday and exclaimed... "Vicky, you're famous!" It seems that everyone at Sanford and Roger Maris reads the newspaper.
He brought up the scans on the computer and started showing me the "slices" or "frames" that the scans take. He pointed out the anatomy as we went, orienting me to the view. I flashback to my anatomy /physiology class in grad school. Our professor had decided that in order for us to really learn the brain, we needed a med school book. I needed a dictionary and interpreter most of the way through the book. It all comes rushing back to me as I stare at the image of my very own brain. Each part flashes in my mind as I blink, cerebellum, blink, cerebrum, blink, brain stem, blink.
Honestly, despite all of the long names of the anatomy, it looks like shadows in varying shades of smoky grey, with white splotches appearing every now and again. Frame after frame everything appears normal.
Until he slowed and suddenly in the brain, there appeared the same white blob. Blink. He said, "its unchanged. It didn't grow. Its still lighting up which it normally doesn't do." Perplexed I said, "but not cancer?" "no, he said, we DO think its cancer. Blink, blink. In three weeks time, it went from being not a cancer, to probably a cancer. "We just don't know what it is. Since it hasn't changed, we don't do anything for now."
I am immediately trying to disseminate all that this means. I realize the variables are confounding. It won't go away on its own. But it could just lie there for a long time. Or it could grow, fast or slow, or maybe in ways that are hard to decipher. Will I come off the study and go through a wash out of my current chemo to start a new one? Will we try to radiate it? Will I have brain surgery? These are all possibilities and I know, he can't predict any more than I can at this point. Questioning him won't give me the results I desire. Gulp.
As I am pondering this chess like move my cancer has made, I am completely caught off guard as Dr. Panwalkar proceeds to my CT scan. While the lymph node tumors remain stable, as does the spot in my spine, something new has cropped up. Blink. Blink again.
This time we look at my lungs. Again, frame after frame passes by, until suddenly a tiny white wisp of appears on one single frame. It disappears on the next frame. Its the tiniest blip. He confirms its tiny, 3mm... which is too small for a PET scan to accurately reflect if it is cancer. Its also too small to biopsy. In fact, it could be a small infection that I have that will resolve on its own.
Again, we will watch and wait. Lung surgery? Radiation? New chemo? How many drugs does it take to fend off possible brain and lung mets? Deep breath.