It was generally a positive meeting with the doctor to review the results of the CT scan. He didnt think the spots on her pelvic bone were mets. Just a denser area for whatever reason. Thats good news… But the bad news is no quick fix to her terrible pains via radiation. Instead, more drugs (Lyrica) to try and treat the symptoms. The 4 mets in her lungs have shrunk to the point where they were not visible on the CT, but the doctor wanted to make it clear, they are almost certainly still there. Shrunk, but still there like some cruel sword of Damocles that will follow her around for the rest of her life. Its odd how we all have such a sword over us. But until you look up to see it, you live in blissful unawareness. But once you see it, you can never forget it is there. So, the sixty four thousand dollar question is of course, what does it mean. For now, its stay the course. The Doctor wants to do 6 more chemo cycles, and then Kathleen can take a break. And by break, he means just that. CT scan 2 months from now and then 2 months after that. If things remain small, then another 2 month reprieve. If not, back on chemo. Repeat– more life in the chemo cave.
In some ways, today felt like snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory for her. “We won this round!!! … Wait, what exactly did she win?” She was generally pumped up at the prospect of a positive report, but instead the meeting got refocused in a way she didnt quite expect– talking about the long term. It seems like its been so long since we thought about anything long term and looking down that road is frankly quite scary for her, for us. We know we are on that long cancer road / cancer support road, but frankly, you kind of get used to trudging along, looking at your shoes as you move forward with the odd glance to the left and right of you when the scenery warrants. But raising your head and looking down the road ? Thats a “holy shit, how the hell am I going to do that?!?” reaction. This has been a particularly hard cycle for Kathleen, and the prospect of doing this for the rest of her life is a bitter pill to swallow to say the least. “One day at a time” flips back and forth between infuriating trite cliche and mind saving mantra. As her friend, I dont know the answer. I dont know how to help her through this part of the road, nor does she know how to help herself either. But then again, these are heavy philosophical questions that are meant to be constantly asked, never to be answered with finality.