December 31, 2019 - Happy New Year! God is Good!
It is a Happy New Year indeed! Without any suspense or delay, we received very good news. Very good news. My PET scan was clean. This was the best news we could have hoped. I got my NED report! No Evidence of Disease.
What does this mean? It means that NO active cancer cells were found microscopically. They did not see any cancer cells in any other organs such as my liver or bones. Am I cured? Not exactly. Doctors like to see 5 years of clean scans before they begin to utter the “C” word, as in cured. That is ok. I will take the NED classification and dance my way into 2020. Good riddance to 2019.
I am thrilled with this news. Jamie is thrilled. Mason is thrilled. My family is thrilled. We are all over the moon! And since my scan was clean, I received clearance to have my PORT removed. Yippee! This will bring great comfort and relief just to have it out of my body. The port removal surgery is scheduled for January 8th, but it is a simple out patient procedure and should go off without a hitch. Easy peasy.
Then the next phase of my treatment begins. On January 13th, I begin the first of 28 radiation treatments. These treatments are given daily, Monday-Friday, until I complete the full 28 rounds. I should have this phase wrapped up by mid-February.
You may wonder, why is radiation needed if I received a clean PET scan? Well, let me tell you in the best layman terms that I can. (Disclaimer, I am not medically licensed, not even remotely studied in this field, however after going through cancer treatments, one of the side effects is to begin to think you could be a doctor! So, if you have any aches a pain, give me a call, I could be your Tele Doc! sigh...I digress)
The PET scan shows active cancer cells. The radiation specifically targets the area where the cancer was (my breast and lymph nodes) and attacks any dormant cancer cells (cancer cells not actively dividing). Radiation therapy treats only the part of the body where the cancer is/was located. Radiation therapy works by damaging the DNA of cancer cells. The cells with damaged DNA cannot repair the damage. They stop dividing and die. After they die, they are naturally broken down and eliminated.
In a nutshell and most importantly, radiation therapy will reduce my chances of re-occurrence. I will embrace it and hope to have a new friend in my life, my friend NED. Hello, NED! What’s next? After radiation, I will be on oral medication for 5-10 years to continue to fight cancer re-occurrence. In addition, I have final reconstruction from my mastectomy, but that doesn’t come until much later this year. I will keep everyone updated as I know more.
God is Good. Many of you have been praying with us and for us. We can’t thank you enough - from the bottom of our hearts. A day didn’t go by that Jamie and I did not feel the power of your prayer. We were lifted up, by each of you. Our journey is not quite over, but we are on the right path!
Happy New Year! Goodbye 2019 and Welcome 2020!