Of all the news I got yesterday from my oncologist, the only thing that actually made me cry was the word "relapse". Not the news of new tumors or even of the possibility of chemo. It was just a simple word that broke me. I can't tell people I beat cancer anymore. I can't say that I won. I can't use the wonderful words "cancer free" to describe myself. My cancer has relapsed. I have cancer again.
Now, I am not discouraged by it. I had actually anticipated having to deal with cancer again...but I thought it would be years and years and years from now. Not 3 months after I finished fighting it the first time. I am ready to deal with whatever my body has to. Although the idea of more chemo is NOT something that I want to think about, if that's what I need to do, then that's what I'll do. If I must lose the precious little bit of hair that has grown back, then fine...it'll grow back again (and this time I know how long it will take). Although it kills me to miss out on so much with my kids when I'm not feeling well, I know that this short time in their life won't even compare to the years I get to spend with them afterwards. I don't doubt with even a single fiber of my being that I won't beat this again. Its just the road I have to take to get there that isn't so pleasant.
I thought everyone might like to know exactly what we know as of right now. My PET scan from last week showed that I have multiple new small tumors on the bones in my pelvis (new as in weren't there during my last PET scan last December). They are small, but the surgeon who removed my tumor last week was still able to see them during my surgery. The good news about the tumors (yes, I guess you can have good news about tumors) is that they are on my bone. What I mean is that, the cancer is still only in and on my bones, it hasn't spread to any organs or other parts of my body. Its still confined.
The other thing we know is that although they were not able to remove all of the larger tumor last week and I will have radiation to treat it, the biopsy results showed some good and some bad things. The good things are that it was extremely necrotic (dead) and had very little live cells left. That means that the chemo I had worked its magic on that tumor. Had it not been loosely attached to my nerve, it probably wouldn't have had to be removed. The biopsy also showed that although it still was not a typical neuroendocrine tumor, it was indeed NETS. That's good, because it means I don't have a second type of cancer. Unfortunately, it took a PET scan, surgery and a biopsy to convince my doctors that I was experiencing the same pain as last fall and that I thought this tumor was the source of all my back and leg pain then & now.
I don't have an appointment with my oncologist until August 8 (what a long wait). Then we'll come up with a plan for how to proceed. Until then I could use some prayers for recovery from my surgery and calm & peace for our family over the next week.