So. I was able to access the radiologist’s report from Tuesday’s bone scan. The good news – I didn’t have to wait until next week.
The “I’m too young for this” news – I may have hyperostosis frontalis, a common, benign condition seen in elderly females. Well! That is clearly a mistake. Elderly females, indeed. Harrumph, I say. Harrumph!
The news I’m putting off saying out loud – Looks like there is new mets in at least one spot (the sternoclavicular joint). The laconic language of the radiologist’s discussion was such that I am not sure about changes to the existing mets, and I’m not sure about how the scan relates to the skull findings on CT. I’m waiting to talk to my doctors about that.
In extreme stress I try to remember to do certain things.
- Breathe. (Not as self-evident as one might think.)
- Out with the bad, in with the good. (Pray. Talk about what I’m feeling. Accept advice and support from good friends and professionals.)
- Do the next right thing. (Have and follow a plan of action. Review and change as required.)
- Keep breathing.
The important thing is not to get ahead of myself. I’m not a physician, much less an oncologist. I have to take all my assumptions with a very large grain of salt until I’ve talk with someone knowledgeable. While it’s good to have a plan, I shouldn’t obsess over it until I have authoritative input.
I have a call into my GP, who has been walking with me through all of this from the beginning. I have some questions for him and I will ask him to guide me through the next steps. My oncologist is not available until October, so I am going to ask for his help with either getting me in sooner or maybe seeing someone else. I have a list of questions for her, the most important of which are 1) What is the statistical life expectancy and quality of life at my current stage of the disease? 2) What are the treatment options? For how long, and how will they affect my daily life? 3) What is the statistical life expectancy and quality of life if I have the treatment?
I am very aware that statistics don’t apply to individuals, but this will be more fodder for the decision-making mill. I will take the information with me and discuss it with several people who are important to me, including my spiritual advisor and a couple of very close friends. I will pray about it.
Then I will make a decision to have treatment or not. I have been living with cancer for eight years now. It is going to be a life-long relationship, obviously. “Brother Cancer” is not the companion I would have chosen. I don’t like him, but I am trying to live with him. The question I need to answer now is whether or not (following the images in the post I linked to) I should continue “standing up for my rights” or if the time has come for me to prepare to walk into the light, purposefully and with dignity.