The Great Cancer Adventure Continues....

April 05, 2018

- 1 min read

In January, I had a PET scan which showed there was “minimal residual disease”, something that is of course great, good news. On Tuesday, some three months later, I had a CT Scan, which showed there was “…near complete response to radiation and chemotherapy. Subtle FDG uptake still identified with and (sic) a single posterior mediastinal lymph node.”

All of which is to say, the esophagus looks to be fine, with some thickening (which I can live with, as I can still swallow OK), resulting from the radiation way back in the fall, but there’s still some question about one of those original four pesky lymph nodes. The Oncology Doc seems to think this could merely be the result of some persistent inflammation (my Pet Cough mentioned in December of last year), or it could be the result of residual cancer, so I’m to have another endoscopy, with biopsies in a couple of places in that vicinity.

There’s at least a 50/50 chance this will result in good news (and frankly, my chances might even be better than that, as there’s essentially no clinical change from the first and the second tests), but if it there’s still cancer, then surgery is indicated, not what I was expecting, frankly, having been advised by the appropriate surgeon way back in the fall that this is something I would want to avoid if possible as it’s 1.) a serious procedure (hospitalization is 9 days, give or take), and 2.) a life changing event (I’d be left with the effective use of only about one-third of my stomach.) I am of course hoping (expecting?) the best, but preparing myself for the worst. None of us get out of this life alive, now do we?

Should the news from the endoscopy be good, then quarterly I will, alternately, have a PET and a CT scan and an annual endoscopy, and be considered “in remission”. Interestingly, I am “clinically” in remission now, in that nothing really shows cancer in the tests and there's no change from the PET to the CT, but this needs to be confirmed “pathologically” with the biopsies from the endoscopy.