When I was diagnosed with cancer, over time I was told that it was an aggressive cancer and that it could not be cured. The best to expect was remission for an unknown period of time. Because the endometrial cancer that I have is rare, there have not been a lot of studies to go by and the one being used looked like chemo was the best option. After I finished chemo I met with the radiologist and, besides the information above, he said that they just were not sure what, if anything, radiation would do for this type of cancer. I chose to wait and see since I really did not want to do full pelvic radiation because of all the side effects, some of which cannot be reversed.
On Monday, March 23rd, I met with my oncologist to discuss the PET scan that I had on March 9th. The PET showed that there is a malignant lymph node sitting right on the aorta. (The aorta goes down the spine.) It cannot be reached by surgery and he said that cyber knife was out of the question at this location. The longer he talked the more I realized that I was out of options, or not being offered any options except a clinical trial at Colorado University. The only thing, I felt, that he did not tell me was how long I have to live. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed when I left his office and by the time we got to the elevators Rebecca and I were crying – both of us in shock. It all became very real.
My oncologist did say that he would talk with my surgeon and radiologist and get back with me by the end of the week (I have not heard from him) and that he would also check with Colorado University about clinical trials (which he personally would prefer to do). I checked myself and all of the trials they have going, or trials they are starting have to do with ovarian cancer, which I did not have, and of course none of them will be trials with the rare kind of cancer that I have.
On Monday evening my radiologist called and said that he wanted to see me. He had a voice mail from my oncologist but had not talked to him yet. He wanted to talk with me directly. I met with him today, Friday, March 27th. The discussion was much the same as the last time that I met with him. I asked lots of questions and he answered them all. I even took my anatomy book with me and asked him to please show me the boundaries of the radiation being planned. After a week of prayer I have decided to proceed with radiation. What have I really got to lose? He said that it is not going to be easy and will get worse as each week passes. It will be everyday for 6 l/2 weeks – 33 treatments. I should be finished about the first week of June. I will go on Tuesday to get my CT scan and tattoos. Yes, Katherine will be tattooed with little dots – can you imagine that. Maybe I can have them do a little flower around each one – ha! I think he really wants to go ahead with the radiation now while I am so healthy (Hmm! Do you see that as an oxymoron?) and before the cancer goes into a vital organ. He was quite clear that if that happens there would be nothing else they could do with this type of cancer. So far the cancer is in the lymphatic system and no vital organs. Both doctors are sure there is more cancer in the lymph system but it is just not strong enough to show up on the PET scan yet.
The actual radiation will not start for a couple of weeks. He wants the needle biopsies done on the breast before he starts. He said that if they were malignant it would mean a mastectomy. I said, “no” a lumpectomy even though there is no lump there. He said that would mean radiation. So, that is what we are doing so one more spot of radiation doesn’t matter.
Does this mean that another trip to Hawaii is out of the question? I sure hope not!
My journey is far from being over so please continue to keep me in your prayers.