Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cancer Watch II. I was a little hesitant to go public with our health problems. I hope everyone understands that these reports are simply to keep us all in touch and to help us talk about a disease that, for some people, is very difficult to discuss, and for others is the subject of outright denial. I have seen the latter case in client situations, and it is very sad indeed for the entire family and it makes it difficult to plan appropriately. I appreciated Scott opening the door to this sort of discussion, and keeping us advised of his situation.

As I reported earlier, my mother and I had tests last week for our respective cancers, her's active, mine dormant. She had a bone scan and X-ray series on Thursday, as she has bone cancer, secondary to breast cancer, and both of us had PET scans on Friday. Today we got the results.

At first our doctor's secretary called to tell us that they had received the results of the PET scan for both of us, that mine was negative and that Nita's showed "improvement". I asked about Nita's bone scans and X-rays, but they had not received those yet.

Then Dr. Feinberg called me about an hour later. He had all the results. He said that your's truly is "fine".

As to Nita, he said that that the PET scan was to detemine whether the bone cancer had spread to her viscera, that is to her liver, lungs, etc. He said that the PET scan was negative for that. The PET scan showed the bone cancer as well, which he expected, but that the PET scan showed "improvement".

He said that the X-ray series was to see whether there were any broken bones, because bone cancer can lead to that and Nita has some sharp pain if you touch her on certain places. No breaks.

The bone scan was to assess the progress of the disease in Nita's skeleton. It shows the treatment is working. Not only that, it shows that the abnormalities to be "blastic" rather than "lytic". Blastic shows up as white on the scan, indicating a lesion that is denser than the bone itself. Lytic shows up as a lesion darker than the bone; it shows actual bone loss. What is interesting is that some of the blastic indications may indicate not the cancer but the healing of the cancer as a result of the treatment. The medicine mother takes each day by way of a pill is to kill the cancer. When the cancer lesion, which has bored into the bone, dies, it leaves a little hole. The treatment mother gets each month is to recalcify the bone, that is, to fill up those holes.

If what showed were lytic lesions, then I understood Dr. Feinberg to mean that we are dealing with bone damage that is far more serious than what the scans show. No osteolytic lesions showed up.

As Dr. Feinberg rang off, he said he was very happy to telephone us with good news. He says that he doesn't get to do that very often. I was glad to receive the good news, of course, but I am sorry that he does not make those calls so often.

No comments: