Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Three Years!

This week was another CT scan and follow up with my oncologist. It's been almost three years since finishing treatment for my lymphoma - THREE YEARS!!!

In those three years my oncologist's office has moved, my original doctor left, and the practice has changed names. For someone who is comfortable with the familiar, these have been big changes! But one good thing with the name change and partnering with St. John Hospital and MD Anderson is that I can now have my scans done AT Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute (formerly Tulsa Cancer Institute) and insurance will approve it!

So this week was a familiar scan (how many have I had???) but at a new place. Every place does their stuff differently, and that always adds a little stress to an already somewhat stressful situation. This was the first time my port was accessed for the contrast IV (which everyone should experience at least once). No biggie, but the tape they used to keep everything in place from the lab to radiology was too tight and I couldn't even stand up straight without my port digging into whatever muscle it's on.

The nurse brought out TWO big styrofoam cups of a delicious somewhat nasty liquid to drink - one right then and one about 15 minutes later. I asked her to fix the tape on my port... right in the middle of the waiting room... but I didn't care. It was nice to move without pain!!!

I waited at least 30 minutes before getting called back for the scan. That's a lot of time to get worked up and start freaking out about what they might find. I got the shakes and couldn't stop. Poor Daryl was getting worried about me. I kept quoting my mantra:

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord; whose confidence is in him. - Jeremiah 17:7

And even added the next two verse:

He will be like a tree planted by the water 
that sends out its roots by the stream. 
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit. - Jeremiah 17:8-9

The CT scan itself was fairly routine. I wore a shirt with a design of metal accents so had to change into a gown. Who knew just figuring out what to wear would be such a big deal. It needs to be fairly warm (the clinic is on the cool side) with a neck line that allows easy access to my port, and no metal for a scan. And it also needs to be cute so I feel good, right!

Since I had the scan at the clinic in the morning, we left for lunch and a little shopping before going back in the afternoon to get the results from my oncologist. That waiting... it's a big part of the journey, but still not fun. I'm not sure it gets easier, but hopefully we're wiser!

RESULTS ARE GOOD!!! No changes or signs of enlarged lymph nodes!!! Bloodwork showed elevated liver enzymes, but my liver was clear on the scan, so Dr. Taylor isn't concerned. My alkaline phosphatase was below normal which is related to my bone density and osteopenia. He said to keep taking the Prolia shots! Everything else was pretty much perfect!

I've graduated to seeing my oncologist every six months! I'll have one more yearly scan to check a spot that is unchanged from last year and is probably scar tissue. If next year's scan is unchanged, I won't need one every year. We even talked about taking out my port... except the follicular lymphoma dictates it stays. In fact, my doctor said something like this: Oh yeah, you also have the follicular. The diffuse large B cell is probably cured. The follicular will probably come back, so the port stays.

That's the update! Scan in one year, visit to oncologist with blood work every six months, keep the port and have it flushed every two months. Works for me! 

Thank you to all who continue to pray for us!!! You helped us get through an emotionally draining day!

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