Adiós Gallbladder

Following up on the previous post The Good News & Everything Else.

As instructed, I completed two more tests that my GI doc scheduled in trying to identify the cause of my abdominal pain and weight loss. The first was an Abdominal Mesenteric Ultrasound w/Doppler. The second was an Upper GI w/Barium. If I never have to swallow barium again, it will be too soon. If you’ve experienced barium, you know what I’m talking about. Nasty.

The following week, I met with a Surgical Oncologist who was going to review the notes, all the tests/imaging (including the results of the new tests) and make his recommendation. I went into this consultation 95% sure those last two tests were “unremarkable” aaannndddd I was right.

However, Dr S determined that based on my complaint of pain, location of pain and weight loss, that removing my gallbladder might solve the problem as my symptoms are all indicative of gallbladder issues. He also said it was entirely possible that removing my gallbladder wouldn’t make any difference at all BUT he recommends removing it anyway.

So, while all the tests said my gallbladder is A-OK, the date was set for July 30th. The Monday after I returned from San Francisco.

My “It’s 6am and haven’t had coffee yet” face

Surgery went fine. I was home by 1pm. Pain from the 4 small incisions was minimal. I didn’t even need so much as an Advil. The only issue so far has been nausea. Horrible, ridiculous nausea. That’s now under control with an adjustment of anti-nausea meds.

On Friday, I received an unexpected note from my Primary Care Doc. She had the pathology report on my gallbladder. Apparently, those little suckers can be sneaky AF and mine definitely was:

Adiós gallbladder, you will NOT be missed.

It’s All Very Bittersweet

It’s been six days since I traveled to New York to have my most recent PET/CT to see if the treatment I’m on is still working.

Six Days.

Six days are an incredibly long time to wait to get results for any scan but especially a PET scan. Waiting for the results of any scan that will tell you if the cancer is active and taking up residence in new parts of your body is just as  anxiety inducing, if not worse, as the time leading up to and the day of the actual scan.

I called Sloan last Friday to see if the report came back but was told that my Oncologist didn’t have it yet and that she would call me as soon as she had it. Great. I had to wait over the weekend.

I couldn’t help but think of my friends who are dealing with progression and treatment changes right now, like Susanne and April.

We all know that this is all part of it but when it does happen it still hits us like a punch in the gut. Each time we know one of us is going for a scan I think we all hold our collective breath  until we hear the news trickle through the interwebs and our circle of friends. It’s like we are all going through it together. We all feel that gut punch when there is shitty news and we all celebrate and throw fist bumps in air when good news is shared.

Then my thoughts go to the friends that are no longer here.

This year has been full of loss. Big loss. For me, it’s a messy combination of sadness, grief, anger and a whole lot of guilt. It may not make sense to some but I do feel guilty for still being somewhat OK. Survivor’s guilt they call it. Believe me, it’s real and it’s no joke. There are day’s that I would trade places Beth or Alexis or Mandi or Jennifer in a heartbeat.

But for now, according to my doctor, I will keep on the current treatment plan I’ve been on for the last (almost) 2 yrs. It appears to be working. Despite the pain in my back. Despite a rising tumor marker. There are no new metastasis that were picked up by last week’s scan.

I made my doctor tell me again. I didn’t believe her.

Then she handed me the report.

“NO SUSPICIOUS MALIGNANCIES”

My shocked, I’m oh, so happy….but it’s very bittersweet.

 

~Happy Thanksgiving Everyone~

Almost Out Of The Woods

I’m THREE days away from turning 47 yrs old. According to the statistics (and my Oncologists back in 2013) I shouldn’t be here to celebrate this birthday. But for those that know me in real life (or know me well enough ‘virtually’) know that I HATE being told what to do. In fact, I will go out of my way to do the exact opposite of what is being forced on me if I don’t like it or don’t want to do it. So, here I am! Suck it Cancer!

Yesterday, was a glorious day in Manhattan. The sun was shining down and warming everyone and everything. It was a perfect day to walk the streets and enjoy the day. Which I did. Between the PET Scan and seeing my Oncologist. They were in two different buildings a few blocks away! It was also a perfect day to meet my friend and Underbelly partner, Rebecca Scheinkman. We both had scans at Sloan Kettering and were able to meet after our appointments to chat and hang out for a bit.

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Susan Rahn & Rebecca Scheinkman

OK, so without further adieu, here is the update: I received a call today from Sloan and my PET scan showed that I AM STILL STABLE. The nodule in my lung on my last PET scan did not light up as active cancer. This is the BEST possible news and quite frankly I am surprised and happy all at the same time. When your Doctor calls you and the message left is “When you call me back, have me paged”, well, you tend to think, “Oh, Shit, here we go”

However – I am still not out of the woods just yet. Both of my Oncologists have agreed that I need to have a Brain MRI and that will be happening within the week. There are some symptoms I have been having that they are both concerned with and want to rule out any metastasis. I haven’t spoken about these symptoms on Social Media because I didn’t want to make too much out of it and I figured I would wait and run it by my Doc’s before I started to push the panic button. I’m still not, but when they both agree that they want to look at your brain (thankfully, they actually feel I have one!) you can’t put the Xanax away just yet. They also want me to re-visit my Cardiologist due to some palpitations (or fluttering as I call it) that have been happening that cause me to cough. I do have two minor leaky valves that everyone knows about so they are erring on the side of caution and having him check this out.

So, there you have it. Over all, good news. So far. I just need to get through these last few tests and appointments and THEN maybe I can relax until the next scan in November. Wait, did I say relax?? Silly me, there won’t be any of that just yet with Adam’s Graduation next month, Adam’s Graduation party, Adam’s 18th Birthday (Holy Crap! Where did 18 years go??), getting him ready for College and moving Adam into his dorm.

Thank you for following along on this roller-coaster with me. I leave you today with a picture of Bella because she’s so darn cute.

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Bella Rahn