Today I decided was my new birthday. Okay, my second birthday from my real one. Because today I was officially diagnosed with Stage IIIa cancer or T3N1M0. T means the size of the tumor and I was staged at 3 because Harvey (I named the ugly sucker) is over 5cm. Had he stayed at 3cm or so, I would have been staged a II. Node involvement appeared to be less on the PET than MRI so they decided by the looks of the scans there was little or no involvement and put me at a N1. Possibly one or two specks in there but maybe not. The M0 is my favorite one. Means no mets to anywhere in my body and believe me they looked everywhere. While a Stage IIIa sounds ominous, for me, it was good news. It gives me a fighting chance.
Had all my tests done over three days last week and results were in the computer when I met with the radiologist/oncologist. My one hour appt turned into two hours and I had so many questions answered and so much information given to me. They are very thorough. My regular doctor (the jersey guy) met with his team and they posed this plan for me for treatment. I will be getting 30-33 zaps of radiation and chemotherapy in between. A grueling cocktail but if it gets rid of Harvey and any of his microscopic spawn floating in a few of the lymph nodes, then I will deal with the side effects. Plus they are big on pain killers and while I'm not, the doctor told me to put aside any of my thinking that I will get through this on Tylenol - take the meds given and it will be easier on you. So I will listen. However, if I start acting like Hugh Laury on House, someone send me to treatment.
I have to go tomorrow to see the oncologist because I was late for that appt because the radiologist had me too long. So I see her tomorrow and hear about the chemo side of the cocktail. Too bad Tequila wasn't part of the treatment. When I meet her I will hear her side of the story. Then Friday I have to go back to radiology and be fitted with this body thing in a CT machine and marked and noted so the physicists can calculate where to exactly point the rads at my body. Interesting. I'm to expect a lot of different side effects from both treatments and I have them marked down. If I experience them I have ammunition to deal with them (cream, drugs, anti-nausea drugs, more drugs and maybe a drug or two for good measure). If I do not experience the worst, then I will be thankful and make a quilt that day. I have no where to go, nothing to do that is pressing for the next few months so that will be when I push to heal and get through treatment.
Thanks for being there and for reading this blog. Today a great weight lifted off my shoulders knowing the cancer had not spread. That was my greatest fear. Thanks for all your prayers because I know they markedly helped. Be Well, Marilyne