Yesterday we returned to the hospital to see the oncologist and get the results of the scan Julia had back in March. Our daughter and nieces accompanied us again but that was probably in the hopes of seeing Dr. Drop Dead Gorgeous. They were to be disappointed since we saw the lady from our last visit. Though she is honest in where we stand she always tries to temper that with some enthusiastically given ‘Good News’.
Today we were told that the tumour has grown back to the size it was when Julia was first diagnosed and before the chemotherapy shrunk it so much. This was said with the speed of a machine gun spitting out bullets so that it had just hit home when the speech slowed slightly for the good news. “But” she said ” it hasn’t spread to any other organ, and since you’re not currently uncomfortable ( in pain), and you’re currently trying to live as normal a life as possible, we’ve decided to continue on the path of no treatment. To offer something now could exacerbate the growth and reduce your quality of life. We need to reserve treatment for a time when you start to feel the effects of the tumour again.”
Everyone seemed delighted with the news that the other organs were currently clear and that no treatment was currently needed. I held myself in check asking just a couple of questions, the main one of which was to see if chemotherapy could be restarted at a lower dose of the gemcitobene if needed as the other treatment option is to take tablets daily which have only a 10% success rate. The prevaricating answer is that they could look at the option. I thought Julia was happy with the news too until we got home. She told me she’s scared that the tumour is back at the size it is and she worries now if she’ll survive to see our daughter married or if she’ll hold a grandchild of that wonderful union. I did all I could to stay positive and remind her she’s still riding and relatively pain free.
My own worries though aren’t so easily dispersed since I’m wondering if the scan was six weeks ago, how much growth has there been since then? Will it grow beyond the limits of the splanchnicectomy and cause the pain to return which can only be controlled with large doses of morphine ? I don’t even know how fast the growth is. It could have started growing slowly in December when the chemotherapy stopped and taken till March to reach this size, or it may have only started growing a week before the scan and got to this size quickly. This again leaves me wondering where we are size-wise now.
We return to the hospital in 6 weeks unless Julia feels any discomfort in which case we go back straight away. But, if we manage the six weeks I shall feel I have to ask for a new scan to give me a better idea of how we stand. I will worry though that Julia and the girls will see this as a sign of desperation on my part and start to feel the same way. At the moment all I can do is hope Julia continues to enjoy the horse riding and doesn’t start to feel enough discomfort to lessen her quality of life.
Friday addendum. It seems I was wrong as Julia has told me today how upset she is that the tumour has grown back to it’s previous size. She’s wondering now if this is the beginning of the end. Staying upbeat and keeping her positive is that little bit harder now. But, as I pointed out, great strides are being made every day and by next Friday she could be cured and driving me to drink.