I had my five-month checkup on Friday. My cancer antigen (carcinoembryonic antigen that measures inflammation) went from 4 to 2.3! It’s in a “normal” range. My doctors and nurses assure me that I am not normal. Haha.
I had a brain MRI and back MRI starting at 7:45 a.m. Results show the two brain lesions, which were millimeters in size to start, have continued to shrink. My back has given me round-the-clock pain to manage since surgery on July 30th. I don’t have the results of that scan yet. I hope the doctor will be able to tell me why it hurts so much. Also, lying in an MRI machine for an hour gets uncomfortable.
Next I had CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and left foot. Lung mass decreased from 1.5×1.6 cm to 1.4×1.1. In total, it’s about a third of the size it was in March. My left foot has hurt for a long time, like since I ran those two half marathons three years ago. I had worried that I had a tumor or a broken bone in my foot. I have neither. My oncologist Dr. P, also a runner, suspects a morton’s neuroma. He thinks it’s a bundle of nerves and sent me to a podiatrist. Whatever it is, I hope something can make the pain stop because it’s really annoying all the time, especially in the middle of the night when I’m not sleeping due to back pain. I have an appointment next Friday.
Blood work all came back within normal ranges for everything, except that I’m a little anemic again. It could be due to my period. Even though it’s extremely light, it might be enough to throw my levels off. It’s explains why I’ve been so cold lately. Anyway, did you read about the normal ranges for everything else! Normal!
I met with my oncologist next and didn’t have a ton of questions for him this time. I really think my back will get better and that I need to give myself time. I asked about a flu shot and he said, “Yeah! Do you want one?” I said, “Yes! Wait. Right now?” He said, “Yes!” Boom! A nurse came in and got that done.
Infusion, or my bone shot, was worthy of mention, only because I got a treatment bay all to myself that was second to last in the whole, long row, #35, and it had the best mountain view. Debbie was my nurse this time. She’s good about injecting my shot really slow so it doesn’t hurt.
Next I had a break for about an hour and a half until my palliative care appointment at 4. I read. I laid on a bench. The podiatrist’s office called. I replied to texts from work. I listened to some gentle stream track on my Insight meditation app.
Palliative care went well. I saw Dr. T this time. Appointments with him give me an emotional hangover almost. Like his questions mull in my mind overnight, then I feel overwhelmed by it all the next day. I’m not very needy. He tells me to work on this. We discussed pain killer use because I am using them again for my back, not a ton, not even a whole dose. It’s the only thing that works when I wake up at 2:30 in so much pain that ibuprofen or acetaminophen don’t touch, so I have a snack and take a pill, and then I can go back to sleep after it starts working 20 minutes later. I need a pill about once a day, almost always in the morning, and then the pain’s knocked down for the rest of the day. I can manage the rest with over-the-counter meds. Just have to put the pain in its place from the get-go and stay on top of it the rest of the day! Anyway, he said not to worry about my use and that pain killers are essential in cancer treatment. He said to let him worry about my use, and that if he saw something concerning, we would have a conversation.
I read an article/booklet produced by the Lung Cancer of Colorado Fund while I was waiting to see the oncologist. Another lung cancer survivor had written an article about living with the disease for the last 10 years. 10 years! He runs, he hikes, he does all the things I hope to do again. The article gave me so much hope! He wrote that he focused on healing from the disease as opposed to fighting the disease. When I was really sick in February and March and couldn’t figure out why, I would listen to a meditation on Insight’s app called “Our Power to Heal & Repair” by David Ji. Same mindset about healing ourselves, and I think it’d be worth focusing on again.
Not much else to say. Still feeling really good, aside from the back pain. I’m looking forward to getting my back MRI results and going to the podiatrist! Next check up is in 4 weeks.