Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scan Results

All Clear!

I tell ya, I thought I was pretty cool about the scans this time around, only felt that I had a little bit of anxiety a day or two before hand, but after hearing the news from the doctor, a big wave of relief went over me.  I was surprised -- didn't realize how anxious I was about it.

Walking out of the hospital, I was pretty pleased with everything, so I celebrated with a couple of cookies at the hospital cafeteria. :)

The doctor did say that there's some "scoleosis" thing, or some scarring, showing up on one of my vertebrae that's likely due to radiation.  That didn't sound too good to me, but he assured me that it's nothing to worry about.  We also talked about the fact that I can't go a night without being woken up by the urge to go pee.  I brought this up with my surgeon and he said it was likely due to radiation damage.  My med onc said the same thing -- there could be some scar tissue there that causes the urge to "go" to occur earlier than usual.  I know that guys can have this problem as they get older, but this is a pretty clear before treatment and after treatment difference.  So, another apparent permanent side effect that I can cough up to cancer treatment.  Fun.  He suggested a visit to my urologist to make sure there's nothing else going on, and I said I'd go, and I will, but right now, I need a break from doctor appointments.  Kinda doctored out at the moment.

In any event, I've passed the half-way point in my five-year cancer monitoring plan.  Three scans and one colonoscopy down, two scans and one colonoscopy to go!  Starting to afford myself the luxury of what to do to celebrate for hitting the five year anniversary mark.  I know what I'd like to do -- Hike the Pacific Coast Trail, but I need five months off for that.  Can't do that with my current job.  But heck, maybe I take "leave of absence" from the working world.


Went skate skiing today.  Well, kinda.  Attended a skate ski clinic run by a dude who was on the World Cup circuit.  He's awesome.  I was really looking forward to it as I had a really good weekend of skate skiing last weekend, and thought I had made some real progress, but all the clinic did was get me really frustrated at how far I have to go before I get halfway decent at this skate ski thing.  There's certainly easier ways to have outside winter fun that don't involve the time and resources that taking up skate skiing involves, and man ... I was ready to sell my gear by the end of the clinic.

Not helping matters was the fact that I snapped one of my poles in two when I shut the hatchback on my SUV.  The pole slid out of the back just as I was slamming the hatchback closed.  I saw the pole slide out after I was well into bring the door down.  I couldn't stop it ... just wanted it happen in slow motion.  CRUNCH!  Dammit ... Now I'm pole shopping tomorrow.

And then, the Packers get creamed by San Francisco. But, broken ski pole, crappy day on the mountain, Packers loss ... small taters to my health. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scanxiety - Three Years Out

Had my Year Three scans today - both CT scans and MRI scans.  I've only had CT scans in the past, and this time I pressed my med onc to replace the CT scan with an MRI scan since a CT scan is equivalent to something like a couple thousand X-rays.  So, he ordered both.  Argh.  Not sure how the helped my cumulative radiation concerns.  I definitely like the actually taking of the CT scan more than the MRI scan.  A CT scan is done and over in about five minutes, but I was in the MRI tube for over an hour.  The MRI tube is very tight (not good if you're claustrophic - I can easily think of some people who would not even fit in the MRI machine - and is very, very noisy).

I find out the results on Friday.  Wish me luck.

Being three years out now (I was diagnosed in Jan. 2010), I was pretty calm leading up to this.  All of my scans and blood tests have come back good since finishing treatment -- I'm a "NED" head -- and I like where things are headed. 

Still, I get a little deja vu and nerves when I walk into the cancer center, check in at diagnostic imaging, get the IV tube put in, and lay down on the table.  All the little things (the smell of the saline they inject to your IV, ordering the food at the basement cafeteria) always takes me back to when I was undergoing treatment.  It's a very stark reminder that a very short time ago I had a very serious disease, and that as good as I've felt of late, I need to stay vigilant.  I've already know of more people than I would like who have had a "NED" run of several years after finishing treatment, only to have cancer rear its ugly head again.  Even after five or ten-plus years of being cancer free.

But, I still feel pretty good about things.  Which can't hurt.  And, I'm getting out there and doing "Doug stuff".  Like skate skiing (see below).  I'm slowly, very slowly, getting the hang of it.

I'll let you know about the results on Friday.