So the CT scan was uneventful and quick. I went into the actual CT room this time and was delighted to see that the machine was painted to look like a boat. Ana drank her two gallons of contrast and was extremely brave, even when the nurse did something wrong and squirted her blood all over the place while putting the I.V. in. We’d seen Dr. Martinez right before the scan and learned that Ana’s liver enzymes are coming down as they should. She doesn’t need labs drawn for four weeks. We were in good spirits until…
The meeting with Dr. Yamashiro didn’t go so well. He went over the CT scan results and two of Ana’s lung tumors have gotten larger since her last scan in March. The largest one is about 1.5 cm (it had been around 1 cm), so there was no question in Dr. Yamashiro’s mind that it grew. He wants to remove as many of these tumors as possible and has already spoken with a surgeon (Dr. Middlesworth) who we will likely meet with on Tuesday next week to discuss details of the procedure. Dr. Middlesworth sounds like a made up name – I can’t be the only one who thinks this.
Now for the good news. Just kidding. There’s no freaking good news. There’s just the SAME news in that this is a slow-growing cancer that isn’t spreading beyond where it has already spread. Dr. Yamashiro still believes that the tumors in Ana’s lungs are byproducts of her original tumor which was extremely large and had time to spread into her bloodstream and ultimately her lungs. The immunosuppression may be what caused the tiny cancer cells to grow in both her chest and abdomen. Maybe. There’s no real way to know this.
Today Dr. Yamashiro speculated that the lung tumors may have grown (again) because we’d increased her tacro over the last few weeks (Dr. Martinez doubled the daily dose when Ana’s liver enzymes started going up). But it’s not like she can cut the tacro again – the risk of rejection is too great. The best course of action is to remove the lung tumors (as many of them as possible – apparently the smallest ones are unchanged) and continue her on the higher dose of tacro with the higher dose of Celebrex. Then we hope and pray that this is enough to keep any new tumors from showing up. The nightmare scenario of Ana constantly having to have surgery to remove new tumors was on my mind a lot today.
This is a balancing act and a guessing game and it’s all very infuriating, only I hate that I feel infuriated. I should be glad that these tumors can be treated surgically because some tumors can’t. Some cancers can’t. I should be happy that she doesn’t have to endure chemotherapy (and I am), but I hate, hate, HATE that she has to go through surgery again – this time on her chest – which means more scars and pain and hospital time. How many scars will she get before this battle is over? Will it ever be over?
I just created a new blog category called “meh” because my abilities as a writer are failing me. I can’t quite put into words the emotions I’m feeling right now mainly because they seem to change every few minutes. On the one hand, I know they need to get these tumors out and I want them out. On the other hand, I want this to please stop. Just…please…stop. Let her finish the school year. Let her worry about clothes and boys and graduating 8th grade. Let her sleep at night without fear.
Dr. Yamashiro doesn’t know when the surgery will be, but he couldn’t promise me that they’d wait until after the school year ends. He’s going to talk to Dr. Martinez and Professor Wigglesworth (I mean Dr. Middlesworth) – and figure out a plan. Meanwhile the next step for us is to meet with the surgeon to see what he has to say. I will, of course, update the blog as I get more info.