Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hope

Today, I received the results of my bone density scan and a non-surgical interpretation of my CT scan.
My endocrinologist is completely stumped by the fact that my spine and pelvis are in better shape now, density-wise, than they were when the parathyroid cancer diagnosis was made in 2002. It's counterintuitive, but it's a fact. My forearms, however, have gotten considerably worse over that span.

As for the CT scan, there doesn't appear to be tumor tissue pressing against my aorta, as a previous scan showed. Rather, there is suspicious tissue encroaching on my trachea and a suspicious lymph node in my neck. Thus far, the disease hasn't metastasized to the interior of my heart or lungs, where it often can spread. So, the endocrinologist's opinion -- and remember, she's not a surgeon -- is that these tissues can be gotten at. If that's the case, by no means are we talking cure. Nobody familiar with this cancer would ever make such an optimistic prognosis, especially based upon my record of past surgeries that ultimately proved unsuccessful. But, surgery can buy time.

My unwillingness until very recently to even consider further surgery was based on results of a CT scan more than a year ago that indicated such surgery would carry potentially lethal risks. Now, the situation has changed, and with it my attitude toward the surgical option.

Cancer is an extremely dynamic disease. It changes constantly in the way it mutates, moves and responds. I often think of these changes in a negative context, but these changes also can be for the good. Nothing stays static; everything changes. It's all a big circle.

I'm extremely cautiously optimistic. I'm now waiting to hear the opinions of two eminent surgeons.

4 comments:

Matt Kohai said...

This is excellent, if cautiously optimistic, news. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you - please keep us informed, and best of luck.

Michael said...

Thank you. I wouldn't call it excellent news just yet. Right now, it's just an interesting development with potential.

Zen said...

Maybe all those, prayers, candles, good vibs, incense, etc from us...something is working :-)

My Bother-in-law's father was sent home to die. They expected 6 months... that was two yrs ago. It has cleared up.

Good things can happen.
Ganbatte!

Michael said...

Thanks, Zen. Gambarimasu!

Actually, I'm taking this news with a great deal of reservation and caution. I have had what seemed like good developments turn into just the opposite. One moment at a time is the way I need to go.