I made it to CrossFit 3 times last week. I had hoped to get there 4 times, but it was a short work week with some medical appointments, so I was happy with 3. On Thursday, I had a CT scan. There were multiple reasons for a scan just halfway through chemo.
First, I'm taking one fairly toxic chemo, and the federal government doesn't allow any patient to have it more than 6 times. If I'm going to use up 4 of those 6 now, we'd like to know that it's working before we continue to the 3rd and 4th doses.
Secondly, I'm seeing a surgeon at Sloan Kettering in NYC this week, and we needed a new CT so he could compare the previous scans to this one. This will help him plan both the timing and the techniques he will use for surgery.
The scan was on Thursday, and I expected to hear the results from the surgeon in NYC. But, my oncologist got the results early on New Year's Day, and immediately sent me an e-mail. There are three main "nodules" or "lesions" of concern right now. Of those 3, 2 pose fairly significant risks long term. One is a metastasis on the tip of the liver. The second is near where my right kidney was removed, and it's resting against the colon. This is likely to force the surgeon to resect my colon and large intestine. Essentially, I'm looking at 3 surgeries in one - liver resection, bowel resection, and then removal of the third lesion.
The CT scan showed that the liver metastasis has responded very well to the chemo. The lesion against my colon has also responded, although not quite as well, but it has shrunk by over 20%. The third lesion appears to be unchanged. Even that could be good news if that lesion turns out to be made up of well-differentiated cells rather than dedifferentiated cells. Well-differentiated cells don't respond to chemo as well as dedifferentiated, but they are also not nearly as aggressive.
So, nothing has grown or advanced, and the two most risky nodules are improved. However, improved is far different than "cured" or "gone". But, it does mean that after 2 more rounds of chemo, we will hopefully have a simpler surgery than what it would have been if we'd gone straight to surgery.
Later this week, I should get a potential surgery date. My last scheduled round of chemo should end on 1/31, unless I have any immune system issues. I assume they will need to wait some time for that last round to do its work and for my immune system to recover before surgery. So, I'm guessing surgery will be in late February or early March. I'll know more after talking to the surgeon.
My wife and I spent the weekend with college friends. We enjoyed some nice wines and foods, and just hanging out. We stayed up too late listening to records and playing cribbage. Just like we did 30+ years ago in school. It was nice to spend the weekend having fun and not worrying about cancer.
This morning, my wife and I made it to CrossFit before work. I had my best workout in weeks. But, if I'm feeling fit again, it must mean it's just about time for the next round of chemo.
But, with the good news that the chemo is working, I say bring it on. I can endure 2 more rounds knowing that good things are happening from the medication.