March 11th, 2004.
Off we go to the doc's office to find out what the CAT says!
Well, that's what we did yesterday. Now, this is the kind of
thing that really tests whether your glass is half full or half
empty, as I'll demonstrate.
I had another CAT scan last Friday, March 5th. I've become
somewhat a pro at them by now, and it's starting to show. I
wore my joggers, so there would be no metal to remove, and so I
wouldn't have to change into a gown where my butt tries to show
itself. Hehehe! I walked right in, hopped up on the
table, lifted my legs so the triangular-shaped cushion could be
placed with the point under my knees without being asked (it keeps
me in place during the scan, and actually makes me much more
comfortable). Then I put my arms up over my head, and got
ready to do some breathing exercises. There was no
hesitation needed as we went through the list of questions about
what I might be allergic to, surgeries I've had, or why I was
there. The nurse remarked that if I could just reach the
controls from there, she could take a break! LOL!
So then we danced to CAT Scan Fever for awhile, with me holding my
breath at the appropriate places and her slowly gyrating me in and
out of the machine's donut hole. Somewhere in the middle,
she injected the radioactive isotopes to make me glow and, as
usual, it warmed up my private area, and everything went just
fine. When it was over, I hopped off the table, promised to
drink lots of fluids to rid myself of the radioactive kool-aid I'd
been drinking, and was on my way, no fuss, no muss.
Yesterday, I kept my appointment with the doc to find out what the
CAT revealed. He wanted to use it to confirm that my lymph
nodes and that 'mass' in my abdomen (I think I need to give
that thing a name, like "Marvin" or something) are
getting smaller, now that we're half way through this chemo and
So, the nurse ushers us into one of the examination rooms, and we
look at the art on the walls for awhile. I'm not sure who
the artists are, but there are two paintings in there from the
impressionist period, and I quite like them. Anyway, we wait
a little while, and then the doc comes in, says hi and asks,
"How ya doing?" I say, "I was hoping you
could tell me!" with a big smile.
Then there was one of those long, awkward silences as he looked over
the report in front of him on top of my
thickening folder of medical information. It was long enough
for the smile to come off my face, and I began to think that maybe
that's what he was waiting for, so that he could continue in a
more serious vein. (Get it? Vein? Doctor
humor... hehehehe )
Finally, he says... "Hmmm... This is strange..."
Mom offers, "he thinks you're strange - hehe" and we both chuckle
nervously. A bit more silence, and just about the time mom's
ready to tackle him and see for herself what it says, and I
think I'm going to have to buy the info like a detective trying to
squeeze his informant, the doc says, "according to this, the
mass and the lymph nodes aren't shrinking at all." THUD.
He starts to explain that he expected by now to see them
shrinking, that this is the most effective known chemo regimen out
there, and that it usually works well, and that he's a bit
confused that they're not. I nod throughout the explanation,
having enough info that I know exactly what he's saying and agree
with him. He re-checks the folder to make sure he didn't
count to three wrong, and sure enough, there are three treatments
He thinks we should do another treatment in the series, and see if
things are just going slower than expected. Meanwhile, he
wants to do a PET
Scan, which will look deeper at the problem than a CAT scan
can. Don't miss checking out this
page on that site too.
He asks how I feel, and I tell him fine. I mean, I'm a bit
more tired than usual, and occasionally nauseas from the chemo,
but not too bad. I feel good enough that I'm still working
and stuff. Put it this way - I don't FEEL like I'm getting
I asked him what we'll do if I don't show signs of improvement
soon, and he says that there are plenty of other chemo regimens we
could try - different chemical combinations. It brought to
mind my studies on this a while back, when I learned that this
type of cancer can and might evolve over time into forms that a
particular kind of treatment may not be effective against.
Hey, what can I say? I'm a walking, talking study in
With that, we headed for the front desk, where Delia sets up my
In setting up my PET Scan, she found out they'd need me to bring
my latest CAT Scans with me, so they can see what's going on and
make comparisons and whatnot. She arranged for me to pick
them up down the street to take with me, and we headed over there
to get them. I signed some forms, got the package of pictures
that look a lot like X-RAY film, and off we went.
Of course, I couldn't resist having a look at the film when I got
the chance, and it was very interesting! Instead of one big
picture of my chest or something on each, these have 15 pictures,
each representing incremental slices of my body. Here's a
scan I made of one of the film sheets:
There are 12 sheets of film, so that's 180 picture slices of me.
Some of the individual pictures on them have a little red mark or
circle. I'm assuming it's Marvin:
And here's a close-up of Marvin:
So, here's where we test whether we're going to look at this glass
as half empty or half full. If I wanted to see the down side
of it, I'd say that the treatments aren't working and I'm in deep
doo-doo. But I've got a better plan here. I see it as
it's not getting any worse, as far as we can tell, so we've got it
in check, and will be kicking it's butt into submission soon.
Other than that, nothing really new to report, except that one of
my teeth is starting to get pretty sensitive, and I may have to
see a dentist about that. I'll let you know how that turns
The next update should include details about the PET Scan, which
is sure to be fun! See you then!