Tuesday, December 31, 2013

If only PET scan results came with an airbag!

I had my last PET/ CT scans of 2013 right after Christmas.  On Monday, December 30, Mark, my mom and I were headed to Dr Laudi's office to get the results.  My mom lives closer to the clinic than we do and got there minutes before us, so we asked her to check me in.  She was still standing in line when we arrived.  We were roomed by a snarky young woman who commented that I was late.  I asked if I had kept Dr. Laudi waiting.  She said no, but I had to be on time, even though Dr. Laudi wasn't.  I laughed.  Snarky always makes me laugh!

After 20 minutes had passed and still no Dr. Laudi, I said "See!  I wasn't late at all."

"You know why he's late, don't you?"  Mark said without looking up from his phone.  "He's looking at the PET results."

"Dragging his feet?" my mom ventured. "Celebrating?  Crying?"

Mark slipped into an Italian accent, "Oh, no, I have killed her!"

Bad taste?  I guess so.  Tempting fate?  Maybe.  But this is a long and winding road and we all were laughing when Dr. Laudi walked in with what appeared to be red eyes. 

"There appears to be progression." he said, signing into the computer and bringing up the scans from 3 months ago, 2 months ago and last week.  Three months ago, the only active area was L4.  Two months ago, L4 was slightly smaller with 2 small spots in my liver.  Last week, the liver spots were nearly gone, L4 was smaller, but there were 2 new spots under my left arm.  I remembered to show Dr. Laudi the rash I have been doctoring in my left antecubital that was thought to be a viral infection, but was spreading.  After some thought, Dr. Laudi wanted to biopsy the skin rash and the lymph nodes under my arm.  One or both could be cancer cells, even though the known cancer cells were being killed by the chemo, these cells could have mutated.  Dr. Laudi hoped if they had the cells were now HER-2 +, because there were some promising new treatments out there. It was possible that my skin rash and lymph nodes were part of an infectious process and not cancer at all.

Here we go...

Skin biopsy time

Emla- a cream that numbs the skin
Skin Rash
Doing the Punch Biopsy
 Dr. Laudi numbs up my skin and takes a small "punch" that looks like a small, pencil eraser-sized sharp cookie-cutter like thing and punches a hole into my skin, taking the skin cells with it and leaving a small hole.  He put 2 stitches into each spot.
The next day

Here I am modeling a Breast Center top 

Lymph node biopsy gear
 During a needle biopsy, an ultrasound technician finds the lymph nodes, then the doctor numbs the area and sticks in a guide needle.  To get the sample, he shoots in a large hypodermic needle and then removes the cells from inside the needle.  It only leaves a small puncture wound that needs a pressure dressing.

Biopsy cells

Please aim prayers right here. 
Thank you! 

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