Tuesday, December 19, 2017

And now, this.

Yesterday was Gregg's bi-annual oncologist appointment. A week or so ago he had to have his yearly CT scan so the results would be ready in time for the doctor to look over and discuss at the visit. All standard stuff in the 6 years since he had lung cancer. Every visit in those 6 years (after surgery and chemotherapy were over, of course) has been great, but yesterday was different. There have been some changes.

As some of you may know, Gregg lost his entire left lung at the beginning of 2012. When they did this latest CT scan, they found a "thickening" in the tissues of his chest cavity where that lung used to be. Dr. Smith, the oncologist, said it's probably nothing, maybe scar tissue, but because of his history we can't be too careful. They've scheduled him for a PET scan on January 2 to check for any possible recurrence of cancer.

My blood ran cold when I heard the words "PET scan". Almost no one was reading my blog back in 2011-2012 when Gregg had cancer, but it was the most horrible time of my life. I never said it out loud, and I'm sure I never wrote it down on the blog, but I was afraid he wouldn't survive. The odds were grim. Those were terrible, terrible days, in all sorts of ways and for a multitude of reasons. Lucky for Gregg, he barely remembers any of it (he was on lots and lots of opioid pain medications after surgery and during chemo) but I can't think of that time in our lives without a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. So you can imagine how I felt yesterday when he came home from what should have been a routine checkup and gave me this latest news. And today, December 19th, is the sixth anniversary of the day when Gregg walked in the door and said, "Baby.....I have cancer" and my world fell apart.

So yeah, I'm scared.

Dr. Smith did say it was probably nothing, probably scar tissue, but with a history of serious cancer they can't just ignore what may be the first signs of something. They ran a complete blood panel (that's a standard part of every check up) and everything with that was perfect. Gregg's weight has stayed almost exactly the same, and he feels good. The doctor also said it would be "highly unusual" for this to be some sort of cancer after the amount of time that has passed. And thank goodness the changes they noted were in the empty space where his left lung used to be and not in his remaining good lung. All good signs, but still...

The earliest appointment he could get for the PET scan was January 2, and Dr. Smith will have him back in his office the following week to discuss whatever they find (hopefully nothing). We'll just have to live with the uncertainty through Christmas. My poor husband--first his mom dies at the beginning of the month, and now this. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I despise the month of December. If anything bad or tragic or scary is going to happen to us, chances are it will be around Christmastime. I guess it's just as well that it will be January before this can be sorted out, but waiting and not knowing is so hard.

46 comments:

  1. So sorry for this news and hope all turns out well.

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    1. Thank you for commenting and for your good wishes.

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  2. Oh Jennifer, I started crying when I read this because I feel for you. I am hoping all is well but it sure is hard to wait til January 2. Hugs to you both and waiting for good news.

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    1. Please don't cry. We're okay, I promise. You are a dear friend and your support means a lot to me. Thank you so much. xoo

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  3. Likely it will turn out to be scar tissue but still a shadow cast over your Christmas. Tough times for you Jennifer.

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    1. Hopefully it will just end up being yet another story of a Christmas spoiled (we have plenty) and nothing beyond that. Thank you Sue.

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  4. I keep trying to write a comment but every word comes out flat. I know when my mom was diagnosed, that feeling of your blood running cold, where your world is all of a sudden spinning so fast you think you can somehow fall off. Or does it stop spinning and you feel like your world has stopped and will never be the same. It’s bewildering and terrifying and there’s nothing anyone can say or do to get your world back to the place it was in the minutes before.
    Breathe.
    I’m holding space for both of you.

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    1. Back in 2012 when Gregg was diagnosed, the main feeling I kept struggling with was a sense of isolation from the rest of the world. Everywhere I looked, people were carrying on with their normal lives and it was like looking at them from behind a window, shut out. Despair inside. I hope to never, ever feel that way again.

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  5. You must absolutely be in a state of constant near-panic. At least, I would be. I have absolutely NO advice to give you except just get through the next few weeks however you can. Whatever your coping mechanisms are- use them!
    Also- the good blood panels is a very good sign. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that most likely everything's okay (although I believe it probably is) because I know that if there's one chance in a thousand that cancer has returned, you're going to worry yourself to pieces about that one chance. Again- at least that's what I'd do.
    And I don't know if it does any good at all but please know I'm thinking of you and your man and hoping with all of my heart for the best. Not just for him, but for you too.
    Okay?
    Hugs and many kisses.

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    1. Coping mechanisms--oh yes. I have a few.

      The blood panels ARE a good sign, but until we get an "all clear" from the PET scan, I won't be able to rest easy. We're okay though. Taking it all a day at a time.

      Thank you for your sweet comment, Mary.

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  6. Jennifer, I have no words for this news. Tough times and bad memories.
    I really did not expect this.
    When I lost my baby daughter I remember that cold feeling and then the numbness fog I walked around in the month she lived till she died before Christmas.
    There is nothing I can say but I will light a candle for you and Gregg and send some hugs to you.

    Your friend, gayle

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    1. Just knowing you are there is a comfort. Thank you for your friendship. It means a whole lot.

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  7. I have tears for you, Jennifer. I understand fear. Christmas is definitely not the most wonderful time of the year.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. What a sweet comment. Please, no tears. We're okay, and I'm sure we're going to be okay. Hugs.

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    2. Hugs to you, sweetie. You're very brave.

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  8. I hope for both of you that every thing will be ok.

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    1. Thanks Yael. I appreciate your friendship. xx

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  9. Fingers crossed chin up dearheart x

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    1. "Chin up" is my motto right now. Thanks, John! :)

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  10. Oh, man. I am so sorry this has occurred. As you said, there are many hopeful signs -- though I certainly understand why you'd be scared. It's only natural! Thinking of you both.

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    1. Steve, I meant to tell you...in addition to everything else, Gregg is supposed to have another small spot cut off his forehead in early January! Poor guy can't catch a break! They found it when he went back to the dermatologist for a follow up after the first one. All those Southern summers without sunscreen or a hat are catching up with him...and you too! :)

      Thanks for the kind comment.

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  11. My first reaction was scar tissue. The timing of this will test you both to the hilt. I am sure you will get through it together. Stay strong throughout. x

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    1. We're staying strong and remaining as cheerful as possible under the current circumstances. Gregg's been working a lot to distract himself. I've been busy in the house, cleaning and preparing for a simple Christmas. Thank you, Rachel.

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  12. Light and love to you both. This is too much to be happening in any December. It will pass, and not darken your door.

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  13. I'm so sorry you are both going through this. I hope everything turns out well. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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  14. I know how hard this is, Jennifer, as my husband went through cancer treatment last year. Every day was scary. However, it is about getting through each one and believing that everything will work out. Listen to the doctor’s words that it could be something else and try to remain positive, even though it is very difficult to wait on the test.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear your husband went through cancer treatment. It's tough and as you say, it must be taken one day at a time with a positive attitude. When Gregg was sick I refused to accept that there might be anything but a stellar outcome, and his recovery was practically a miracle. No matter what comes of the test in January, we will get through it.

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  15. I do know that scar tissue leaves a patch that will show-up in a scan, so just pray that is what it is. I'm sure everything will be fine.

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    1. You're probably right, Cro. I hate to admit it, but I have a superstitious fear of thinking "oh, it's probably ONLY this or that, and nothing to worry about". As irrational as it is, I keep thinking that only if I expect the worst will it turn out to be nothing.

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  16. Thank you for sharing valuable information nice post,I enjoyed reading this post.

    แตกใน xxx

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    1. What a great example of the most insensitive type of spam comment!

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    2. Why bother to draw attention to it?

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    3. No worries, Meike. It actually made me chuckle. These spam comments are ridiculous and probably generated by robots. As soon as I saw the name "Vaiybora" I knew it would be some version of "What a great post!" :)

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  17. Your world fell apart in 2012, but it came back together all the stronger for it, Jennifer.
    Not knowing really must be the hardest part, I imagine. We've had many friends and family members with cancer, not all of them survived, but those who did deserve our utmost respect and love.

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    1. I am stronger than I was back in 2012, that's very true. I never knew I could live with so much fear and worry and still carry on. I felt like I aged ten years in one, though.

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  18. Oh Jennifer, I am so sorry, this is painful news for me. I hope it turns out for the best. All my thoughts go to you and Gregg and a hug with love to both of you.
    Greetings Maria xxx

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  19. Hoping that all will be well for you and Gregg. Sending love from Harpenden. XX

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  20. Well, crap. Too bad you have to wait until January to get the news that everything is absolutely fine! Where are those opioids when you need them?!? (I swear I'm just kidding.)

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    1. You said it, Mitch...where are they when you need them? Haha! :)

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  21. You and Gregg have had some tough things to deal with and you will deal with this latest issue too but even so I am sorry that it will be lurking about as you relax into Christmastime.

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    1. Yes, we can handle anything we need to...as long as we have each other.

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  22. I'm sorry to hear this. I am hoping for the very best for Gregg, and for you.

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