Sunday, January 14, 2007

Another Damned Spot?

Yes, I think I feel another damned spot in my abdomen, this one a little deeper and a little larger, and also close to my incision. I actually felt this in November, before the other "spot" was removed, but I thought perhaps it was scar tissue. Now I can feel that it's more rounded than it was, that it's grown a bit, and I can see it on the scans from November when I look for it. Curses!

I called the surgeon, Dr. M, this week after "spotting" it on the scan, and he said that it could be another "implant" and that it would be more difficult to treat than the first since it's deeper. (It seems to be in the abdominal wall.) As I mentioned in my December 30 post, my CA 19-9 numbers have been rising, and I've known that this next scan would be important to determine whether or not to start "treatment" (read chemotherapy) besides "watchful waiting." Dr. M mentioned this next scan, and said that if there is sign of spread in my abdomen along with this "spot" and rising scores, treatment will probably be indicated. (And this is what the oncologist, Dr. J, said after the last CA 19-9 numbers.) In an amazing moment of putting a positive spin on my disappointing discovery, Dr. M said that if this "spot" is another small cancer tumor, and I begin chemotherapy, I'll be able to tell partly if the chemo is working by feeling whether there's a change in that spot. He is amazing! And, I suppose he's right!

Some folks asked me in person after my first spot was removed on December 4 if that was a metatasis, and I said no. At least as I understand it, that spot (and perhaps this one) was an "implant," which was a cell or collection of cells that escaped as the surgeons pulled out my sick gallbladder through the incision. As Dr. M described it, gallbladder cancer is particularly prone to escape and implant in or around the incision (and some cancers aren't prone to this; he mentioned colon cancer). So, the cell or collection of cells begins to grow, quickly or slowly, and creates a tumor. That's what my spot was. It's not a metatasis because it's not made of cells that have "hitch hiked" through the lymph or blood system, but rather because the cells were left where they settled in and grew. That's my understanding of the difference, at least.

These next two weeks are full of medical appointments, a scan, and quite likely, some decisions about how to proceed. I also begin teaching a new semester on this coming Tuesday. In the moment, I am holding an attitude of hope, of expectancy that I can handle whatever the news is, and whatever treatment follows.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

drat, drat drat !!!! i am tired of new "spots" !!! i don't like them !!!! and i don't want you to have them-
there, i said it- i love you and want you to feel good and i want your cancer to behave itself !!!!
so i will pray for healing and acceptance (for me, not you), well, if you feel like you need it, i'll be glad to get you some too !!!
anyway, i'm going on my yearly retreat friday(poor nancy)- so let me know what you'd like for power praying and i'll do it- i'm dedicating this retreat to praying for all who i know could use some-
let me know !!!!!
love, alice