Good news today! I got the results of a few scans and they both looked good. The first scan was a follow up CT to assess how effective my radiation treatment was. It’s still a little too soon to tell for sure due to tissue repair and scarring, but overall the results were favorable. The area of my manubrium that was cancerous showed signs of healing and bone reconstruction, indicating cancer cells have been successfully killed off during radiation. The lymph nodes that were also part of my radiation treatment look much better. It’s still too early to tell what, if anything, will still be visible on scans in a few months. Even if nothing showed up on scans, it would still be assumed that there are a few rogue cancer cells floating around, so my other treatments will continue. The other great news with this scan is that everything else looked good; bones, lungs, and liver looked good.
Aside from the CT scan, I also had a MRI of my brain a few days ago. This was actually my major concern going into my appointment. About a week ago I developed constant shooting pains on the left side of my head. This was accompanied by some minor numbness also on the left side of my face. When this didn’t go away after a few days, I became really worried and we got the MRI scheduled. I thought for sure the cancer had moved to my brain. I have no history of headaches, migraines, or really any pain, so I knew something was not right. I have never had a scan that was good. Scans have always brought bad news in the past, so I was mentally preparing myself for a worst-case scenario. I began thinking about the next steps…brain surgery, whole brain radiation, quitting my job, cancelling my trips…it’s been a rough week. The other possibilities I had thought of were an infection or blood clot, neither of which were appealing alternatives, but better than a tumor. As it turns out, the MRI didn’t show anything, which is great news! The thought is that I may have trigeminal neuralgia, a neuropathic pain condition that affects the cranial nerves. Since the pain is essentially wiped out for eight hours with ibuprofen, this is way better news than anything I was thinking.
I’ve learned and been reminded of two things this week. First, MRIs are crazy! Not sure if this applies to all MRIs or just ones of your head, but the noises are the most nonsensical thing I’ve ever heard! It’s like they gave a two year old his first band kit and told him to start playing the random instruments behind your head at full blast or some guy is just pressing sound effect buttons and laughing at you from another room. There is no pattern to it, it’s just weird sounds…so random. Second, cancer can be a really up and down experience. I’ve been reading a couple other cancer stories this week (I’ve read two, now I’m an expert) and I’m always struck by how things change so quickly. I went from thinking I had reached the end of the road this morning to thinking I’m the healthiest woman alive tonight. You never know what the next day will bring. Prepare for tomorrow, but live for today..always.