Serving up a reality check

April 18, 2023. I recently had my regularly scheduled pelvis, abdomen and chest CTs with and without contrast. As you may recall, the objective is to look for new cancer or a reduction in size of the current nodules in both my left and right lungs.

The pelvis/abdomen scans continue to be “unremarkable.” I’ve really grown to love that word.

The scan we collectively hold our breath about is the one of the chest. Unlike the pelvis/abdomen CT, this is done with contrast iodine which helps light up the affected nodules. After my scan 8 weeks ago, all the nodules had decreased in size for the first time since they were detected in June 2021. This time the solid right lobe nodules were unchanged at 16 x 6 mm and 13 x 5 mm. The lingular nodule decreased in size from 4 x 5 mm to 2 x 3 mm. Additionally there were no new nodules. Overall a good report even though it was disappointing the nodules on the right had not decreased by a teeny tiny millimeter in either direction. But the radiologist’s summary was the most sobering. “IMPRESSION: No new or progressive thoracic metastatic disease. Multiple pulmonary nodules are similar in size to 2/22/2023 but are increased in size compared to more remote priors.” The remote priors he was referencing were from 8/16/2022 when the right nodules measured 13 x 5 mm and 9 x 12 mm respectively–several months prior to my participation in the clinical trial. I’m not sure why the radiologist felt compelled to make that comparison and neither did the members of my care team. However, it was a reality check. It was a reminder that cancer is adaptable. It’s a shape shifter. Today’s shrinking size can turn into tomorrow’s new growth. For me, it’s important to stay fully present in the daily journey I’m on.

When things started turning for the better, I think I got a little cocky. A little too sure of what my future might hold. It’s good to remind myself that navigating cancer is like walking blindfolded through a mine field.

That’s not to say I’m not hopeful. I am. Today I have every reason to feel good about where I am in the process and the good results I’m enjoying because of this trial. I’m grateful for today.