Well kids, this isn’t the blog I thought I’d be writing tonight. It sure as hell isn’t the blog I wanted to be writing tonight. I saw Dr. Bussey, my neurosurgeon at 9:30am this morning. I am not cancer-free. I’m not not-cancer-free either. The fact is, they don’t know.
Basal Cell cancer doesn’t show up in PET scans and the MRI shows something residual in the Dura. It could be damage from the surgery in October, it could be damage from the radiation treatments or it could be residual tumor.
Dr. Bussey and Elizabeth, his nurse (she’s more than a nurse but I can’t remember her title just now) will present my case at Tumor Board* on Tuesday. Dr. Hughes, my oncologist will be there. They’ll discuss a course of action in regard to if I’ll need a follow-up MRI in 3 or 6 months. If they detect any growth in the next MRI I’ll probably need another round of radiation. I already had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Hughes in 2 weeks so I suppose I learn when my next MRI is scheduled for then.
It’s about now when I started sobbing so I didn’t hear much more of what Dr. Bussey actually said. If there’s anything of consequence that I left out I’ll have Chuck write a post with the information I missed. I really went to pieces. No lie, I pretty much scared the poor guy out of the room. He left and Chuck did what he could to console me but honestly the only words I heard today were, residual and radiation. I don’t know how long it took me to calm down enough to leave the exam room and walk out to the car.
As much as I’d tried to not get my hopes up, ultimately I did. I even told my sister-in-law that we’d celebrate my being cancer-free at an event scheduled for October. *cries* I kept envisioning myself coming home this morning and calling everyone with the good news and then coming here and posting in big letters — I’M CANCER-FREE! That unfortunately wasn’t to be.
I haven’t talked to anyone. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m not sure I’m ever going to want to talk to anyone about this. I had Chuck call my mother. I’m a coward, I know. I texted everyone else with an opening sentence that read, “I’m home but I don’t feel like talking.”
I’m exhausted and sad and scared and I want to find someone to be angry with. I feel awful. I looked at Chuck this morning and he looked so old and so tired. He’s been through the wringer. Two years ago his dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease then last year I got sick. He’s been carrying the load, emotionally, financially and physically for so long. I worry about him. He’s not one to pour his heart out but I’m sure he needs to. If you see him please give him a hug and tell him that he is doing a great job. He deserves a medal.
My mother didn’t take the news well and I know the rest of my family and friends are worried as well. I hate knowing what this is doing to them. I wanted today to be an end. I wanted to come here today and tell you that another leg of the journey had been completed. I knew from talking to Dr. Hughes toward the end of my radiation treatments that there would be long-term follow-up visits with her, and Dr. Bussey, and Dr. Heymann (dermatologist). But I really, truly believed that after 32 radiation treatments (8 weeks) that the tumor would be gone. It could very well be, but for now I don’t know and I’m at loose ends and I don’t like being at loose ends.
Dr. Bussey said not to let this ruin my life that I should go and do whatever it was that I was going to do and to not spend every day worrying about it, but for now all I really want to do is curl up in a ball and cry.
Thank you all for your love and support, I love you all. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring you better news today.
~ Carol Anne
* They really need a better, less garish name for this.