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[cancer] Beginning the journey, again - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-04-19 05:14
Subject: [cancer] Beginning the journey, again
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
Life is so damned circular.

Last Friday I received the carcinoembyronic antigen (CEA) bloodwork via the online records system from my clinic. It indicated a spike of well over 400% in my CEA levels. I didn't see a rise in my CEA levels with either of my previous tumors — they'd always been pretty flat.

In other words, scary stuff.

I called into the oncology clinic to ask for an immediate appointment to discuss this. My oncologist was out of town and unavailable, and while I did speak to an oncology nurse-practitioner, she couldn't tell me much without clearing it with my absent doctor. While I suppose I could have gone over there and camped in their lobby and made enough of a nuisance out of myself to get someone to talk to me authoritatively, I decided not to.

Instead I spent the weekend wondering if I had a metastatic bloom, or something worse.

Monday morning, my oncologist released the CT scan notes to me. At this point, unfortunately, I know how to read those things. They were quite clear about the tumor in the right lobe of my liver. By that time, this was good news, given some of the things I could have been facing.

So by the time I went in to the oncologist, I'd been through the emotional shock and some of the initial logical parsing of this. As a friend said yesterday, it's like the old joke about the cat on the roof. Although that information release process really pissed me off at the time, in retrospect it was probably a good thing. I do question the wisdom of releasing such results to a patient without the attendant advice and counseling, but that horse is out of the barn.

What it boils down to is that this is a surgically addressable, single-site metastasis. (Which we will be confirming via PET scan tomorrow while also looking for 'seeds' that might indicate a metastatic bloom in the liver or elsewhere.) We know how to get these. This one won't kill me. It plays hob with my long-term odds, but this isn't the long slide into darkness. Not this time.

I'm not so much afraid this time as pissed off. I've realized that's because I'm in familiar territory.

The things I never meant to learn. I've been to this rodeo before, and I'm fucking tired of it.

More to come, doubtless a lot of it.

Post A Comment | 16 Comments | | Link






Erin Hartshorn
User: abennettstrong
Date: 2011-04-19 12:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good luck with the rodeo. I hope that, indeed, the previous round of chemo was efficient and there are no metastatic blooms, nothing but this single site. You're in my thoughts.
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PolyDad
User: polydad
Date: 2011-04-19 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: Sitting is not my strong suit
According to my Buddhist friends, what one does with suffering is sit with it. I'm a doer; I've never been good at sitting.

I assume you know that if there *is* something I can do for you, you should ask for it, but in the absence of some such thing, and given that our lack of immediate geographic proximity makes it infeasible to sit with you, I'm going to go put up a greenhouse. Later, unless you show up here to consume it with us, a beer will be consumed in your honor.

best,

Joel
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Jay Lake: flowers_wasp
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-19 14:19 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Sitting is not my strong suit
Keyword:flowers_wasp
Enjoy your greenhouse and your beer.
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User: beth_bernobich
Date: 2011-04-19 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:balloon heart
*hugs*

Love you.

Fuck cancer.

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scarlettina: Cancer
User: scarlettina
Date: 2011-04-19 15:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Cancer
What it boils down to is that this is a surgically addressable, single-site metastasis.

I suppose that if there's a bright side to this, that's it, though I still hate it for the thief of your time, energy, and brain it is.

I'm not so much afraid this time as pissed off.

And the anger is what will strengthen you and get you through. Yours and, yeah, everyone else's, too.

I send love, as ever.
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User: kshandra
Date: 2011-04-19 17:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Fuck Cancer
I'm not so much afraid this time as pissed off. I've realized that's because I'm in familiar territory.

The things I never meant to learn. I've been to this rodeo before, and I'm fucking tired of it.


Boy howdy, don't we know that tune.

You're in my thoughts, Jay.
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W. Lotus: pink lotus
User: wlotus
Date: 2011-04-19 19:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pink lotus
I'm glad this is addressable, but damn, it would have been better if it hadn't shown up in the first place.

I'll be thinking of you.
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barbarienne
User: barbarienne
Date: 2011-04-19 19:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, for the love of rocks.

Stay pissed, Jay. Fuck cancer.
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jakobdrud: Flower
User: jakobdrud
Date: 2011-04-19 19:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Flower
You'll fight that damn shit, and you'll win because you can. I'll be cheering you on -- from a safe distance, because that's all I can do -- but cheer for you I will.
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Christopher Kastensmidt
User: ckastens
Date: 2011-04-19 20:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So sorry to hear it, Jay.
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Little and foxy and sexy... what more do you want?
User: little_foxy
Date: 2011-04-20 00:57 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
From your previous post you mentioned that this was probably there last time. So was it not visable when they did resection your liver?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-20 14:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Other lobe, and at the time it was misdiagnosed as a blood vessel malformation. (Can't remember the proper term... "angioma"?)
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2011-04-20 10:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hug.
And, y'know, fuck cancer.
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auriaephiala
User: auriaephiala
Date: 2011-04-20 19:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This just in:

"The prognosis for many Canadian cancer survivors tended to improve, sometimes substantially, after surviving for a year or more, a new report finds.

For the first time, Statistics Canada estimated survival for people who have already lived at least a year with cancer. The risk of death is often greatest in the first few years, and prognosis estimates after this period may no longer apply, the agency said.The five-year relative survival ratio for breast cancer rose to 93 per cent from 88 per cent at diagnosis, according to a new study.The five-year relative survival ratio for breast cancer rose to 93 per cent from 88 per cent at diagnosis, according to a new study. Eric Gaillard/Reuters

"The figures are a useful update of the initial prognosis for a number of cancers, and are generally a cause for optimism. For most cancers, the outlook for people who have survived one or more years after diagnosis is better than that at diagnosis, sometimes substantially so," the authors of Wednesday's report concluded.[...]"

I see no reasons why this wouldn't apply to Americans just as well.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2011/04/20/cancer-survival.html
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triskelmoon
User: triskelmoon
Date: 2011-04-21 03:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Shit. Just shit.

I know you have a lot of soldiers on the ground that know the turf, but please do let me know if you need an ally up on Pill Hill.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2011-04-21 11:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thank you. It may yet come up...
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