Wednesday, February 10, 2010

this just in....PET scans are not for pets.

sorry i've been away so long. i have a thousand excuses (some pretty good, some just weak sauce). weather being one of the weaker ones... we've had snow, rain, snow, and more snow. freezing temps. frozen ponds. and snow drifts up to my knees!

and we've had more hardships. we lost our dear ram, einar. and our little orphaned twin goat, ramona. i don't even know what to say. except that it is so completely disheartening to have this happen. we know the reasons. but it doesn't make them any easier. still feels like failure. still makes us mourn. the strong survive. the weak ones fade. i hate it. i really do. but farming is nature. it is life and death. and birth. and seedlings. and giant tomatoes. and evil hornworms. and dogs. and birds. and bunnies.

with mother nature at the reins 24-7 and with us pulling the plough, it's hard to make room for personal issues. like family. and our own health. a month ago i somehow squeezed in a day to drive up to the big city (st louis) for an overdue visit with my oncologist. been having some symptoms (cough, chest pain, along with some other nags here and there). my onc ordered ct scans of chest, and abdomen. and a bone scan.

bone scan came back great. abdomen shows a few weird things but nothing too scary. yay! yay! i'm so happy. whoo hoo! then comes the chest scan report. first off, i have a ruptured implant. geesh! i had no idea. and second, multiple ground glass nodular opacities in lower and middle lobe of lung. huh? wait! what? first i'm thinking , "it's probably scar tissue from radiation. that's happened before". and secondly i'm thinking "WTF are ground glass opacities?" since i live 2 hours away from my oncologists office, i ask to have a copy of report sent to me. you know, just so i can be sure they are reading it right. because, i am so much smarter than a team of doctors and radiologists!

i finally get report in my hot little hands two weeks later (mail is slow in the middle of nowhere). i rip open envelope and start trying to decipher all the information. well, it's definitely not radiation scar tissue as i had hoped. these new spots are on my other lung. my good lung. and the official report reads, "metastatic disease can not be excluded". wow. i've never seen those words before written about me. so ominous. so frank. so nonchalant.

due to these spots, my oncologist ordered a PET scan. which does not involve pets. all my dogs were upset. especially porkchop. he said he has played a doctor on tv many times and was really hoping for a big break on this one. he said he wouldn't even need money. just bacon.

"PET scans are for people. for people!" i said in my best charlton heston.

a pet scan is another way of getting images. especially when looking for cancer. a glucose/radiation cocktail is injected into the vein. cancer cells metabolize different than healthy cells. the imaging can pick up hot spots where cancer is feasting on some day-glo sugar.

so, on feb 2 (groundhog day) i had my very first non-dog PET scan. it took a long time. you lie on this cold table with your arms above your head and the table moves every 4 minutes and takes another picture and you can't move and after about 15 minutes your arms fall asleep and after about 20 minutes you start to wonder if you still have arms because they no longer feel attached to your body and you do your best yoga breathing and eventually start making weird humming noises until finally test is done and nurse is back in the room with you asking if you are ok because you seem a bit freaked out. and the worst part was..... NO CARBS the evening or morning before hand. OMG! i live on cheese AND bread AND crackers AND pasta. not just cheese and cheese.

so jump forward to this week. PET scan results are in. the damn spots are there. but they are too small to say for sure what they are. we can't rule out cancer. but we can't rule it in. and we can't biopsy because it would require major surgery. so standard protocol is to wait three months and scan again. to see if anything changes.

all i can say, is to a cancer survivor, waiting for results suck. it is a recipe for anxiety. we want to know NOW. we want to be proactive. we hate to be sitting ducks (which by the way we just added the most beautiful flock of moscovy ducks to our farm - more on that in a future post).

thank the lord for xanax and red wine and friends and family and ducks and goats and bunnies and donkeys and pigs and blogs!

i will keep you posted. i'm having a little ol'surgery next week to replace my busted implant. and then, i promise to get back hawking my yarn, and to posting anthropomorphic photos of animals.


Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Happy New Year! I am working on improving my blogroll- Cancer Blogs - at Being Cancer Network where your own blog is presently listed. One of the things I want to do is to improve the 800 blog entries, making them more useful for readers.

Check to see if information is correct. Please let me know your specific cancer diagnosis - the medical term. Also the year you were diagnosed and anything else you think is relevant for the listing such as a transplant. If you have written a book or memoir, I can feature it in a special Cancer Book List section. Please include the name of your blog in the email so I can put the information in the correct listing.

Cancer Blogs I & II has been a very popular (over 8000 visits) and valuable resource for folks. It allows people to view what others with a similar diagnoses have gone through. And it brings additional attention and traffic to survivor’s blogs. It is helping to build a strong, vibrant community of survivors.

Please consider adding Being Cancer Network to your blogroll if you have not already done so.

Please see my January 10 post - New Year’s New Face - for additional changes in the website. WIshing you a happy and healthy new year.

Dennis Pyritz, RN
leukemia & transplant survivor

BigLar678 said...

Hand in there Larissa! I'm thinking my best thoughts for you.

Love, Larry