Close Surveillance and Waiting (2/1/12)

Waiting is one of the hardest parts of a Cancer battle.  Once you have cancer you are always a cancer patient. You need to try and tune into anything your body is telling you, as that could save your life.  I had told my wife shortly after knowing about the testicular cancer that I didn’t think this would turn out good. I told her that I had cramps, constipation, and bloating issues; and worried that this cancer was in more than one place.  Another promise – she made me promise to to tell the doctors all these symptoms.

And so my follow-up visit came on 2/1 and I reported all the concerns to the doctors; shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, bloating, cramps, and blood in the stool… They told me that the shortness of breath and fatigue is normal after receiving radiation therapy. They also said that some constipation will come from pain medicine and that blood in the stool was probably nothing to worry about — probably just hemorrhoids. Take some stool softener, drink prune juice, and eat fiber … You’ll be alright.   Hmmm…  I had CT scans on multiple occasions, of course there must be nothing to worry about! Surely they would know if there were any other issues.

So off to get the follow-up Chest X-ray to make sure everything looked fine, drink prune juice, etc.

The day after the X-ray, the doctor’s nurse Elsa called me while I was at work.  “There is an “abnormality” on your right lung. The doctor would like you to go in for another CT scan.”  The CT scan was scheduled for Friday, 2/3/12.  So, I’ll get results on a Monday…  Waiting…

The abnormality is confirmed by the CT scan. What do you mean “abnormality” on my right lung?  How could there be an abnormality that quickly?  I just had a CT scan and Chest X-ray done a couple months prior???

I need to pay more attention to things.  I asked the doctor if he compared the current X-ray to previous scans.  He had not. So he obtained the original chest X-ray from a different hospital and finally did a comparison. His report — “the original X-ray actually did show the lung nodule but it was obscured by a rib.”  That means the other radiologist didn’t see it when it was originally taken.

His report was that my lungs were all clear. These doctors make mistakes.  Yep, they are human too.  They don’t catch everything.  So there was a nodule then and the nodule showed to be a little bigger now.  But the size difference was within a measurement error, so they were not sure it was growing.

Given the location of the lung nodule, a biopsy will be difficult. So the radiologist’s recommendation was to get a PET scan.  A PET scan will measure the metabolic intake of a tumor.  If it is cancer, it will take in sugar and “light up” on the PET scan.

More GOOD NEWS. The nodule did not show uptake – it was NOT CONSISTENT WITH CANCER. Therefore, all we need to do is wait and see…

The last thing the good doctor told me in Battle Creek was “Don’t be overly optimistic. This still could be cancer

The next scan was scheduled for 5/16/12.

More waiting…

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