Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Best Is Yet To Come

The title of this post is my attempt to be positive, which has been hard these last couple of days as  my second follow up scan (6 months after radiation treatment) came back with an abnormality near my left kidney.  A follow up CT guided biopsy of that abnormality on my "left flank" tested positive for cancer, so I'm once again looking at cancer treatment.
The type of cancer I've had, pure seminoma, is (I'm told) the most predicatable and easiest to treat of all cancers.  It follows a set path and responds well to both chemo and radiation.  Which is why when I was first diagnosed in 2010 with testicular cancer I had three options:  radiation, single (but big) chemo dose, or observation (no treatment, frequent ct scans).  I went with that single big dose of chemo which was supposed to take care of any cancer cells that might still be lingering in my body after surgery.

Well we all know how that went, my cancer came back a year later but it came back exactly where it should have if it was going to come back.  I wasn't happy about this, but it wasn't the end of the world.  I knew the cancer could come back, and since it came back where the doctors expected, radiation was still a viable alternative.  I did the weeks of radiation which killed off that cancerous node, and also treated the entire area where the cancer might have gone to next.  Three months later I had a CT scan that showed me as cancer free.

But here we are three months after that first CT scan and the cancer has again come back, but this time in an area where no one would ever think to look for it.  As the doctor told me on the phone pure seminoma statistically never does this, it always follows a set path.

Except when it doesn't.  Radiation is no longer an option as that would just treat this one node, but they have no idea where else the cancer may have gone.  A full on, unpleasant, chemo treatment is now my only option.

We're going to see the Oncologist on Tuesday.  He's a great guy and I really like him, but now I'm no longer sure he'll be the treating physician.  I've now been diagnosed with cancer three times in the last three years, two of them statistically should never have happened (and hell even my getting testicular cancer was statistically low).  So I'm going to ask this doctor on Tuesday for some recommendations for other specialists (Sloan-Kettering, Mayo, etc.  Hell maybe even the Cancer Treatment Center that you always see commercials about).  We now know that my case is not normal, and I don't expect these cancer centers to offer up an easier treatment this time around; I've resigned myself to tough chemo.  But I need someone to look at the big picture, and to give me some realistic expections of the future.  I don't want to hear "we're 99% certain your cured" again.

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