Harv's appointment, yesterday, was scheduled for 11:15. After I got him settled in, a friend picked me up for a DELICIOUS lunch and a walk. (Thanks, Annie! Great lunch and great visit!)
I got back to the hospital at about 2:30 and he was just about finished. Turns out that PET scans aren't really that much fun. First of all, they have to use a catheter (NOT comfortable). Then, he has to lie perfectly still while they do the PET scan -- part of which includes filling his bladder with liquid while they clamp off the catheter. And, the lying still part lasts for FORTY minutes. Totally still for FORTY minutes!
He was happy to have that over with. And, when it WAS all over with, we headed to our hotel -- which was right by the water. We settled in a bit and then walked to a fun restaurant called Wasabi for happy hour dinner. Good deal and a good dinner.
After dinner, we just walked around a little and enjoyed the sunshine.
And, watched the boats a little bit, too.
This morning, we eased into the day with a cup of coffee before we headed over to the restaurant of choice (Portage Bay Cafe) for breakfast. It was yummy. You should go there sometime.
And then, we headed over to our appointment with Dr. Lin. It was scheduled for 11:00, but we got started a little late. And, when the door opened, Dr. Lin introduced us to Dr. Jorge Ramos who has recently moved to Seattle from Connecticut to be a Fellow at UW.
He went over the results of the PET scan with us...and began by saying that, though the news was good, the PET scan was "a little abnormal" but that Dr. Lin was not concerned and did not consider the abnormality a setback. We would find out more when Dr. Lin came in in a few minutes.
Harv's CEA count is 2.0 -- still normal!!! There were other numbers that I don't understand fully that were also very good.
When Dr. Lin came in, he compared the CT scan from December with the PET scan/CT scan from yesterday and it was a BEAUTIFUL comparison!
First of all, there are no signs of cancer in the colon anymore. So, now, they're mostly lookin' at the cancer that has been in the liver. And, secondly, the cancer that's in the liver is almost totally gone (or it appears to be gone) except for one spot that "lit up." The radiologist compared that spot to the last CT scan which was done in May and it appeared to him/her that it was a new spot. But, when Dr. Lin compared it to the December scan, it was a spot that had been there before. Truthfully, I can't remember whether he said it looks the same as it was in December or if it's smaller, but he didn't think it was anything to be overly concerned about. But, we will be focusing on how to get that cancer to die, too.
And, that's another thing! The spots that showed up as big and ugly in December, appeared to be dead now. We could still see the area where they were, but now, they seem to be inactive -- or dead. (Can I get a witness!! Wooooooooooooo hooooooooooooooooo!)
So... now, we have to "devise a strategy to go after the 'hot' ones" -- which for now, means staying the course (Xeloda + Celebrex), but it may include radiation and/or surgery in the future.
Dr. Lin explained that the purpose of this PET scan was to determine if the cancer has spread anywhere else and IT HAS NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because we got started a little late this morning, we were a little late getting lunch. We found out about a place (sort of) within walking distance and we had a warm walk there. It just so happened that it was almost across the street from where we ate breakfast (hahaha)... And, it was gooooooooooood. You should go there, too.
Now, we are at home and happy to be here.
I'm happy that I get to see my siblings in a little over a week and not worry about Harv's health. In the meantime, though, I get to go have my colonoscopy on Monday 'cause I'm 50!!!!! And, if you haven't had a colonoscopy and you're 50 or older or have other reasons why you should go... you should GO AHEAD AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. I mean it!
We are so thankful for you all. Thankful that we chose the right doctor for us. Thankful for a successful treatment. Thankful for people who want to research and find a cure. Thankful for medicines that work. Thankful for the people who check us into appointments and take blood and do PET scans and read PET scans and make life better.
We are also aware of people who are not in the same situation as Harvey...who really feel awful and, perhaps, are not having the same level of success. And, we say a prayer for them and for their doctors and for the people who love them.
Tomorrow morning Harv and I head down to Seattle so he can have a PET scan. This will determine (in a very specific way) how much cancer is still in his system. We think the only cancer left is in his liver. The PET scan will confirm that and will get even MORE specific about the cancer that's in the liver.
Today, he's not supposed to exercise at all. And, can't have anything to eat or drink after midnight tonight. Tomorrow he'll have IV fluids with a radioactive dye that will light up the areas that have high sugar content. That will take a long time to infuse all those fluids. They told him he can't even read during the infusion because the eye movement is considered exercise and might produce sugar that would light up in the PET scan. They will also insert a catheter during the procedure so that all the liquid that he will have infused won't be confused with "wrong" sugar.
The morning procedures will last about 3 hours or so. So, I'm gonna hang out with a friend while he lies still and tries not to "exercise."
And, then tomorrow night, we're gonna stay in a hotel in downtown Seattle. Kind of like a date night. And, I hope we get to eat some delicious food downtown, too.
Thursday morning we'll meet with Dr. Lin so we can find out the results of the PET scan.
That's what's comin' up.
(Not feelin' especially "write-y" so it's pretty much just the facts.)