Saturday, July 23, 2011



I know what you are thinking.

"Oh my God, you have that too? Is that what the MRI showed? How unfair can life be? Haven't you been through enough? What can I do for you: is clicking on the donate button enough? ---->"

Well, thank you, but actually, Oligometastases is a very good thing.

It's "a clinical state of metastasis that refers to restricted tumor metastatic capacity. The implication of this concept is that local cancer treatments are curative in a small proportion of patients with metastases."

Here you go, read to your heart's content.

And, there's more.

So, here is how the visit Wednesday with my doctor went:

As expected, my MRI showed nothing. In all his 80 years, Hugh Heffner hasn't inspected any pelvic region in as great a detail as my oncologist has inspected mine, so I'm just going to have to live with this back pain. But, I have a new theory about the cause that I'll post later.

My doctor asked how I was doing on the Navelbine, and I said fine, it's a pretty easy chemo. He said he liked to use it because people rarely have problems with it. Then he said that we'd rescan me in three weeks to see how my liver was doing. He'd see me in a month (on August 17th), and if it didn't work; if there was progression, than he'd switch chemos.

I asked him, "What if it does work?"

I mean, duh, let's not be negative here.

I added, "Do you think I'll have radiofrequency ablation?"

He said no, that if the chemo worked and my tumors shrank, he'd send me to UCSF for a surgical consult. Since they are treating me with "curative intent," surgery has a better outcome.

Did you hear that? "Curative Intent!"

That means, in case you missed it - he thinks I could be cured. I could be one of the .00005% of people (or whatever) with mets who actually don't die of it. Or, at least, don't die soon - the five year survival rate jumps to 40%, according to one study, and I don't think they even do ten year studies.

Talk about winning the lottery - the highest stakes lottery of them all, I might add. I'll never be able to complain I don't win things, ever again.

Okay, I know that I'm a long way from cure and I know the ups and downs of this disease. My scans might not show regression and, indeed, might show tumor growth. But, now I have something to keep my fingers crossed for, because it could possibly mean a much longer life than I thought.

I have a lot more husband-nagging to do, I can tell you. I have a feeling my plan of writing it all down for his future use wasn't going to work.

Open this note after dinner: "Honey, please wipe up the water off the counter, you always forget." Nope, I bet those notes would go straight into the garbage.

Looking far ahead, a liver resection looks like a brutal surgery with a couple of weeks of hospitalization, and to have it in San Francisco, away from my family, well, it would not be fun, especially if the nurses treat patients anything like they do here. Family visiting San Francisco on weekends would be expensive. (Hence the donation mention. I'm just trying to get you used to it for the future, in case the amazing does happen and I need a little extra to fund it.)

It would all be worth it though.

My white counts are very low and I'm back on leukine. My oncologist and I chatted a bit about going to the California State Fair. The food specialty this year is a maggot melt. Oh yes, you read that right.

He said that thought of that specialty grossed him out, even if it tasted good - knowing what maggots feed on.

I agreed.

I told him my goal was to stay as far away from maggots as possible.




  1. Ann, this is GREAT news!!! I am over the moon for you, congratulations! Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that you see awesome results from all of this and go for the CURE!!

  2. ANN!!!


    This is really great news! I must read up on Oligometastases


  3. GREAT news Ann! Another great "O" word!

  4. It should be noted that I googled "breast cancer metastatic curative intent" and the word oligometastses came up. My doctor never mentioned it.

    But, who could resist a word like that?

  5. So glad to hear this, Ann. Everyone's rooting for you. :)

  6. Ann I am so delighted for u. And I LOVE that word!

  7. Great news !!!!
    Love your posts.
    I am a bit behind on reading ...thanks to a few days with a migraine and vomiting. But I have to catch up.
    You gals amaze me with your sense of humor :)
    Big hugs

  8. Ann,
    It's always great to hear good news. "Curative" has a nice sound to it!

  9. Ann that's fab news. I'm so so pleased to hear this!

  10. Ann, I am so happy to read your news. "Curative" does have a very hopeful ring to it. Here's to further good news from your end!

  11. Great news Ann. I first saw oligo first thing that came to mind was another pseudo fat substitute. Like oleo olestra.
    As for the leukine I gleaned from BCO site that pre treatment with loraratidine is supposed to help some with the bone pain.

  12. I'm gonna try and say that three times fast!! Nope didn't work, lol.

    I'm happy to read this, never knew about it before.

    Here's to happy thoughts :)

  13. WHEW WHO! Yippee I oh ti-ay! (Triple happy for you!!)

  14. I love the way you write. I wish that I had that talent.

    I don’t understand what you are going through—no one does unless they’ve been there.

    On the other hand I feel like I can bond with you—life changing events.

    We lost our son, Joshua, who was only 16 in 2003. Struggled doesn’t even come close to what we have and what we will endure.

    I’m going to keep you in my heart and prayers.

  15. Ann,

    I'm very happy for you for having that too-long-to-spell-correctly condition. I will hope and pray things continue to go in your favor.

    Here's to many more naps to come!

  16. Hot-diggity! HOPE is such a freakin' good thing!! Prayers are continuing on this end.

    I also like the idea of nag notes for the hubby. I may just go ahead and do that. I get tired of sounding like a broken record...usually involving shoes and clothing (both on the floor and on his body). He's visual...maybe seeing it in writing will help. I'm thinking you should market that. I see 3x5 cards in a nice file box. (now there's a BOX I could use...and please don't make it pink)

    Today I go for my first CT in 5 months and first ever PET scan. Gotta admit, I'm more than a little apprehensive.

    Here's to curative intent!! And what would we do without Google?

  17. That sounds like a great thing to be diagnosed with! Blessings to you for continued "cure." Brenda

  18. Hey Ann! Maybe that's what my bestie has....Oligometastases. She's going under the knife and they are taking her right breast and 65% of her liver. Doctors said she'd be in the hospital 5-7 days. Because of one of your earlier posts, she WON'T be staying alone in the hospital. I wouldn't want them to take her catheter out and jot down on her chart that they gave her pain meds when they didn't. I'll keep you posted....her surgery is T-6 days. Congrats on your new status. Rock it girl!

    :) Laura


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