Monday, June 20, 2011

The Best Possible Bad News

My oncologist cut to the chase, "It looks like there are only two lesions in your liver and no cancer anywhere else." Then he smiled a little.

I did a fist pump. "Yessssssss!"

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the crazy world of cancer. All grins and celebratory gestures because cancer has spread to only one organ.

But, you ask: what about my flank pain and the bloating?

It's still undiagnosed because it's not related to the liver. All we know is that it's not cancer.

Good enough for me.

My doctor said it was very fortuitous that I had those symptoms, because without them we never would have found these lesions until it was "too late."

And that too, my friends, is also the crazy world of cancer. I feel extremely lucky that I have an unknown chronic pain condition, because that, quite possibly, bought me years of life.

I have to give mad props to my oncologist for not blowing me off when I mentioned the pain and bloating, and for ordering the second abdominal CT even though I'd had the same test just a few months before. It would have been very easy for him to point to that previous test and say we should wait. I would have agreed.

But, he didn't. He trusted me or followed his intuition or just likes to spend insurance company money; I don't know.

What I do know?

The lab results are still not in, so he doesn't want to put me back on herceptin yet. So, this Wednesday, I start on a chemo called Navelbine. He said it was a pretty mild chemo and the main side effect would be low white counts. He also said that I wouldn't lose my hair.

Did you hear that?


The ladies on BCO warn me that this drug is also nick-named "NavelBind" so I'll stock up on Senekot and high fiber foods and order a case of water from AquaDelight. (You should too.)

Once my labs come in, I'll go back on herceptin, hopefully next week. I have a MUGA Wednesday in anticipation.

I'll do this chemo weekly and in two months, we'll repeat my scans and see if the tumors have shrunk. If they have, then I'll go see an interventional radiologist and have radiofrequency ablation to "zap" what's left.

After that, I'm not sure what will happen. I imagine I'll be on herceptin forever, assuming it works.

I did ask about the TDM1 trial that is going on. He said if the Navelbine doesn't work than he might recommend it but not yet. I'm good with that answer.

For the next two months, I'll be thinking "shrinkage" thoughts.

Sorry honey.

Look out Kathy Rich. I'm coming for you!



  1. so glad to hear you have a treatment plan in place. Best of luck with the Navelbine and (presumably) Herceptin!

  2. Ann that IS the best possible news! I'm very happy the cancer is contained to your liver and I will pray for shrinkage:)

  3. So happy to hear this news and very glad you have a plan in place. Go shrinkage!

  4. Ann,
    I am glad to hear you have set the wheels in motion for your new plan of action. Your oncologist definitely rocks and so do you! Good luck with everything. Good news about the hair too!

  5. Good bad news is the best bad news!

  6. Awesome news!! Sending shrinkage thoughts your way!! - Rachel :)

  7. 3 rounds of TDM1 and my liver mets completely disappeared, and bone mets decreased by almost half! So there are more options out there, although I hope Navelbine will do the trick equally as well. I'm only 3 months into this, but my eye is on the "prize"- Kathy Rich, too!

  8. Glad there were no more spots anywhere! Praying for "shrinkage" too! :-) Good advice from the bco gals!

  9. No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! No cancer anywhere else! Yippee and yahoo! And you get to keep your hair. Hot damn!

  10. Woo! Hoo! Congratulations! *Skipping* (You have the same mind set as me! Mine shrunk and now i have the same thoughts about blasting the little bugga's too!) YOU GO GIRL! It CAN be done! X:-)

  11. Second that Woohoo :-). So glad to hear your news!

  12. Such good news! Been thinking about you. I love the "My Oncologist Rocks" button, too!

  13. YES!!!!!!!!!! I totally fist-pumped too, and I yelled "yes"! out loud and my students wondered what I was so excited about...! AND you get to keep your hair...I am delighted for you, WHAT a relief! Stay positive and enjoy this beautiful day!

  14. I'm soooo glad the cancer isn't anywhere else in your body. I think shrink (shrinkage that is) and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for your health!

  15. Since you have a lot of years left to use that flank, are they going to try to check out what is causing that pain? Cuz you need all the healthy parts you can get! Continued wishes for the best for you...

  16. This is great that there is now a plan and a way forward. Good news about the hair.

  17. (Ps) Ann, i came across a fab article that you might be interested in over at my blog... Pop in when you have a sec, Vicki X:-)

  18. ...thinking of you, Ann...

    Hope you tolerate all that's being thrown at you.

    Shrink those mo foz!!!


  19. Shrink! Shrink! Shrink!

    I'm very relieved to hear that best possible worst news. I'm glad that it is 'salvageable' and that you have caught it earlier than you would've otherwise.

    I think your oncologist rocks too!

  20. If the new chemo has a binding effect, you might want to see if your oncologist thinks probiotics might help. Since I had major chemo years ago, I've had ongoing digestive issues. Adding fiber helped some, but some of the heavy-duty probiotic capsules have really been magic!


  21. I am on herceptin every 3 weeks forever. No biggie. Hope forever is a long time!!


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