Six months ago the prognosis I was given was 6-11 months to live. I had to have a lot of conversations explaining those closest to me what I was facing, and looking at each event not just the last of that year, but ever. My last Christmas, my last New Year, my only Opening Day, my last 500, etc.
The conversation I had this weekend about my prognosis was different. Higher expectations, more hope, yet not any less pressure to make the most of my time. I was able to tell my smaller fans about how my treatments had been successful, and I might be around longer than originally thought. The subtle relief in their eyes and interest in my progress meant so much. The only thing is I was still going by the last scan I had three months ago. The results of my most recent scan was still unread in my inbox. A lot of fate, and outlook of my short term future was still a big unknown.
Given my numbers lately and how good I had felt I felt pretty confident about this scan being positive. I was told if this scan showed the cancer decreasing or under continued stable control I wouldn’t have another scan for six months! In other words given my initial prognosis I felt like they were doubling my life. I had the scan on Wednesday, and they appeared in my inbox on Friday morning. The last time I wasn’t expecting this to happen; instead thinking I was not going to get results until I saw the doctor. I peaked the last time and saw the good notes, but awaited for the doctor to celebrate. I wanted to make sure I didn’t translate anything wrong. This time I opted to keep it unread until I was with my family for Father’s Day weekend. I tell you, it’s tough keeping that kind of information under wraps when it has such implications on your life.
I waited and even napped a bit to pass the time awaiting for everyone to arrive on Sunday. I finally got everybody into the main room, and opened the scans results. They were much shorter this time. I had looked at the baseline numbers from the previous scans to get an idea of how much had changed the last time. Actually from diagnosis to the scan 3 months ago the main tumor had shrunk 7 fold! There wasn’t simply that much room to decrease this time, but I was still expecting this thing to be smaller.
And it was. 🙂
The primary lesion about the pancreatic uncinate process has decreased in size since prior study currently measuring 2.2 x 1.5 cm (image 36, series 6). This previously measured 2.6 x 1.6 cm.
The smaller tumors were not even mentioned in the report
Multiple liver metastases have further decreased in size since prior examination.
Other than some conflicting new and/or stable spots on my lungs (which my doctor didn’t seem to have much concern about) this summary pretty much sums it up:
Decrease in size in the primary pancreatic cancer and hepatic metastases. These findings indicate good treatment response.
Upon seeing my doctor today he confirmed everything so no surprises or much to add. He did recommend I get another scan in 4 months as opposed to 6 months as he had previously suggested. I did ask him in regards to the makeup of the tumor (it tends to be hard shelled/cased) that if it was possible for it to get any smaller, and is it even active? He couldn’t confirm nor deny where that tumor stands today, but he did say it was possible it was inactive, and it was important to note that cancer will/can produce resistant cells to the chemotherapy. That’s the nature of the beast if you will.
But in the big picture I’ll quote my friend from the past week “you’re going to outlive us all”. 🙂
I was exhausted today. I even overslept which never happens. I tossed baseball with my nieces and nephews on Saturday, and large swath of family took over the front yard on Sunday with 3 or 4 baseballs going at the same time. It was a lot for any age, but I kept keeping on despite the heat and humidity. Every day I get to run out there and be able to do something is a gift and I’m going to squeeze out every little ounce.
Yes, I found out I get to play on. I say play because it feels good to be a kid again.