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Jay Lake
Date: 2012-02-22 05:46
Subject: [cancer] The dragons of doubt
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
I am off to see both my oncologists this morning. That would be my medical oncologist, who is the primary doctor on my cancer case, and the surgical oncologist who has now operated on my liver twice. This was supposed to be follow-up from last year's treatment, with both doctors, but now it's turned into a discussion of the meaning of and go-forward plan for last week's CT scan showing a new lesion in my liver. L— is taking me so I don't have to drive in my current nerve-wracked state, plus they can listen to the doctors in case I'm too busy freaking out to pay full attention.

As I said before, there's several things this lesion could be — steatosis and abnormal liver healing from the prior surgery are the two I'm aware of. Surely that will be a significant topic of discussion at both consults today.

But given my history, the likelihood that this is a new cancer is quite high. And I know what I want done. I want the damned thing out of my body right now, I want to KILL IT WITH FIRE!!! DIE!!! DIE!!! DIE!!!.

Not that I'm upset about this or anything.

I'm virtually certain I won't get what I want. As one of my various cancer surgeons explained to me at some point in the past, "Surgery is inherently high risk. We don't like to operate until the risk of not doing surgery is higher than the risk of going ahead with the procedure."

Given that we cannot yet demonstrate with a high degree of confidence that this new lesion is a tumor, that risk equation isn't shifted in favor of resection so far as I know. I'll find out more today. Plus I'm not sure how many times the liver can be resected. If this does have to be taken out, either now or in June, it will be my third liver resection in three years. I'll also ask about radiofrequency ablation, to see if that's an option for me. (And my thanks to [info]calendula_witch both for originally explaining that procedure to me, and just lately reminding me of it when my post-chemo brain couldn't summon the details.)

I wonder so many things. Is this the one that will kill me? (Probably not.) Can I have it out now? (Probably not.) How many times can we repeat this process? (I have no idea.) What happens after we run through the next and last chemotherapy option? (I have no idea.) What's my prognosis? (The doctors won't want to say absent more evidence.)

I'm tired of being sick, I'm tired of being afraid, but I'm not tired of living, even living with cancer. Everything is in doubt right now. Those questions rise like dragons from the dark caves of my mind and skim low and menacing over the horizons of hope.

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User: aiela
Date: 2012-02-22 13:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this. My sister's liver tumors were treated with TACE but I can't say I recommend it, since while it _worked_, it also made her incredibly sick for six or seven weeks, to the point that the second TACE proceedure was canceled (the plan had been to do it every three weeks for 9 weeks or so) and they ended up just putting her back on regular chemo to deal with the few tumors that were still hanging around.

She had multiple liver tumors, so I am under the impression that's why a resection wasn't an option. (My sister is not good at explaining things the doctors tell her, so I often feel like I'm only getting about 30% of the information.)
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User: fledgist
Date: 2012-02-22 14:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wish you the best of luck.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2012-02-22 14:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm pretty sure we won't be looking at trials until we've exhausted the ordinary course of treatment, which is still one more chemo to go. I will ask, though. Thank you.
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Larry Sanderson
User: lsanderson
Date: 2012-02-22 14:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Good luck.
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User: radiantlisa
Date: 2012-02-22 15:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thinking good thoughts for you ...
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User: threeoutside
Date: 2012-02-22 15:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2012-02-22 17:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Very good wishes.
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User: klwilliams
Date: 2012-02-22 18:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I hate the feeling that my body is changing and is trying to hurt me. It's like something out of Aliens, where an outside force has invaded, though in my case it's not from outside, it's my own security forces (my immune system) that's rebelling. I'm so sorry you're in this position, and I hope for the best. Being sick all the time sucks. I hope you have health soon.
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mlerules: MLE
User: mlerules
Date: 2012-02-22 18:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
LJ has stopped allowing me to choose an icon for a reply post, so you must now imagine my dragon tattoo icon here. *flame on* Thinking of you at yr appts today. *hugs*
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Coffee Shop Whore
User: skidspoppe
Date: 2012-02-23 09:37 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sending healthy thoughts! Hope you get what you want and it kills the damn thing dead!
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