January 23rd, 2009: This morning, Eileen and I went to see Dr. Kirsten Greene to hear her opinion of the scans and whether I was a candidate for surgery. She said that she would not recommend surgery at this time. The tumor is still too large to take out without drastically affecting the pelvic area and my whole quality of life. She definitely suggested another round of chemo followed by more scans and decisions based on those scans.
I felt really slammed by the shock that I still have so much cancer in my pelvis that it cannot be operated on for a cure. It's particularly unreal because I have new comfort walking, sitting and generally being in my body. I am not getting worse, but the tumor is not shrinking as fast as it feels like it's shrinking. Back when I was initially responding well to the chemo I had a couple of joyous clinic visits with Dr. O’Donnell and Dr. Jahan. That sense of excitement that the treatments were working, plus my increasing physical comfort as the tumor felt less and less invasive set my expectations quite high. Since the scans have been read, I am finding out that quite high was actually unrealistically high. I have done well, but I also have a large metastasized cancer that can’t be simply grasped and removed. Dr. Greene walked me through the pelvic images and showed how parts of the pelvic bone had been destroyed by the invading cancer. Although this can be removed and replaced, it’s a major event. Also, Dr. Greene was concerned about the lung spots. They have shrunk, but they are still there. She assumes that they are part of the cancer’s outreach. It was news to her that the liver spot was no longer considered pathological.
For the moment, my plans are to have a quiet weekend. This morning’s news seems like a setback at the moment, although down the line it will probably be a bend in the road. I am directed toward more chemo. Now, my effort can totally focus on the chemo shrinking the main tumor. That is the work to be done and I know that my body is doing the best that it can. As always, I am grateful for your support and care in helping me to work with the chemo and maintain quality of life.