Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today's Visit With The Surgeon.

Unfortunately today's visit with the surgeon at PMH has left me with more uncertainty and a future that contains either bad news or very bad news.

As you may know, in preparation for today's visit I had a follow up CT scan last Friday to determine the impact my weeks and weeks of chemo/radiation therapy have had on my cancer. I should have known that would not result in good news. Every form of scan I've had has led to the discovery of further problems. This scan was no exception.

"The scan has shown a migration of cancer to your spine," the surgeon told me.

"To my spine?" That was the last news I expected. Or wanted to hear.

"Either that means a metastasizing of your esophageal cancer to your spine has taken place, or the lymphoma in your hip is not as benign as we believed and it's that that has spread to your spine. If it's esophageal cancer that is now in your spine, then the fact that it has metastasized means that cancer is no longer curable and we will be canceling your surgery and devoting ourselves to making your last months as comfortable as possible."

That was a message that took some time to digest. The surgeon paused to give me time for the implications of that to set in.

"On the other hand, if we find it's the cancer in your hip that has migrated to your spine, we will go ahead with your operation, but it means your lymphoma is not low grade as we believed and after you recover from surgery you will have to undergo treatment for lymphoma as soon as you're well enough."

Not good news either way.

So, now I am to undergo a major biopsy at Toronto Western Hospital to determine what type of cancer is now in my bones, lymphoma or esophageal. This will be conducted under anesthetic where a surgeon guided by a CT scanner will use a large needle to insert a precise probe into the bones of my hip for a biopsy sample to determine exactly what is going on there. They cannot biopsy the newly found cancer in my spine, the location being too risky.

If there was any good news today it was that a date for surgery has been set (September 2nd) since the surgeon believes the newly discovered bone cancer is lymphoma. Friday's CT scan has shown the weeks of chemo/radiation has had a significantly positive impact on the cancer in my throat--and because of that she will not have to remove my entire esophagus but only 5 centimeters above the tumor.

So I am now waiting for a date for the biopsy and then for news about which form of cancer now invades my spine. For news about my future, in other words.

I wish I had clearer and better news to share. Trust me, I really do.

However, what is, is. And, with your support, we will deal with whatever comes our way.

I hope your August 13th has been better than ours!