160. Full Disclosure, New Ultrasound and CTScans

Remember that lymph nodes are the home of the immune system, so they can be active for positive, white cell creating purposes!

Chemo resumes

Today we met with Dr. Wilfong and I also started another chemo cycle… so now we are a bit more clear on the story to tell.

First, thanks for all the positive energy, time, thoughts, and prayers!  I have been living a very normal existence for months, certainly due to this.  I am so grateful to all of you for being in my world.

An inny belly button

The plan was to wait for the wound to heal, and then start chemo.  But it’s been 5 months since the mass was removed in emergency.  The word “wound” makes you think of open flesh and ugly Halloween makeup stuff… but this is like a half sized, inny belly button, wide enough to slide a Q-tip through, and only wide enough because we keep it open at the top so the depth does not infect.  It would be happy to close up at the top.  It ranges in depth from 5 to 8 centimeters.  This is not an ugly zombie wound.  Its craziness is inside the body.  It no longer hurts at all, and even packing it is simple, quick and basically painless.  BUT, it isn’t healing.  

The first guess that could still be accurate is that my body hates sutures, and won’t heal ’til they’re gone.  They dissolve in 4 to 6 months after surgery.  So, I have another month of that being remotely possible.

The second guess is that cancer cells are inside the wound, and a smart body is saying, “No way dudes, get out before I seal this deal.”  I wish I could say those were Dr. Wilfong’s words, but they are mine. He is far more professional and chill than to say that. 

CTScan, contrast dye CT Scan and ultrasound

The medical people did a CT Scan, a contrast dye CT scan, and a uterine ultrasound.

The uterus is similar to the scan from 6 months ago (there is the thick uterine wall (endometrial cancer) and a strawberry sized mass).  Similar is good.  It’s just hanging out.  There is NO prioritization or talk around this because it is captured from spread and quiet.  It is NOT colon cancer.  It is a totally separate rebellion.  

The CT results posted several changes. We didn’t really discuss the list, because the bottom line of the list is more important to me.  The cancer is active, noticeable in the abdomen and lymph area.  There are no new masses, or growth noted from the old areas.  The liver shows a 3 centimeter shadow, but the scan calls it a lesion, so it can be scar tissue from the mass that disappeared there.  Nothing new in my journey.  Just activity.  The lymph nodes are twice the size as before, creating.  Remember that lymph nodes are the home of the immune system, so they can be active for positive, white cell creating purposes!  Yet, we also know they were infiltrated by the colon cancer.  So either way, it would look better if they were happy and back to half the size and resting.

Chemo goals

Last time I started chemotherapy, we did Cycles 1, 2, and 3.  The initial goal is generally 12 cycles.  Options happen all along the way, so it would be ok if I did 7 total, or 20 total.  Getting back to chemo after the surgery has always been the plan, so that is also unchanged.  This body reacts very well to chemotherapy, and is expected to do the same… stopping the cancer once again as it did in just 3 sessions before the surgery.  The body has only mild side effects, another blessing.

The drugs for the chemotherapy treatment are reduced.  That could make it even easier.  There is no huge colon mass, the biggest reason to party!  I know the medical team is breathing a sigh of relief, because they wanted to resume their piece of my healing puzzle with the twice monthly infusions.

The adventure continues

I do have neuropathy in some fingers and a toe, which is one reason for lower doses. I found out that acupuncture is covered by my plan.  So I will add that to my list of “places to go in a pandemic.”  There are drugs for neuropathy, if I decide to go that route over time. My brother Mark and DeeDee recommended the drug (from their medical exposure) for narcotic highs and lows more than healing. Needles are way more fun!

So, we’re off on another step of the life adventure.  Facing challenges and growing are our only purpose on this big blue marble.  This year has certainly provided a lot of potential for us all! 

Author: Michele Plumb Stowell

Michele Stowell was a teacher, a hand holder, and encouraging voice. Born an early Gen Xer, she has lived in Western Washington for the duration. Her children, two spectacular genetic daughters and an uncountable number of marvelous scout and school sons and daughters, shine as her biggest impact and her greatest blessing. Just before her 54th birthday, Michele was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Her writing and art work are expressions of the drama and the joy of living earth bound. On October 24, 2021, Michele was released from her physical body, transported to continue her work on other realms.

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