Worth the risks…

So I thought I would have a two week break from the obvious, and my mind was almost getting there until today.

My radiologist called.

He didn’t have a nurse call or an assistant call.  He personally called me. 

I immediately thought it might be bad news when I heard his voice.  Testing and set up results must have come in…… is where my thoughts immediately took me.  He is calling to cancel and tell me we can’t go ahead.

Wait a second, why am I all of a sudden thinking negatively?  It was only a few seconds until I snapped back into reality and tuned in 100% into the present to actually hear what he called to discuss.

Another gift arrived to me today.

Some may not see this news as a gift and perhaps a huge gamble instead.  I have decided to accept this gift graciously and not look back or second guess my gut instinct.  Really, do I have much of a choice?  Let’s face the facts.  The alternative is death.  I choose life.  I choose positivity.  I choose hope.  I choose faith.  I choose to believe that this path was created for me to travel.  To prove what?  We will eventually learn that in time.  But no matter the outcome, I will pursue this journey with a strong will and determination and if it turns out not to be enough than I will accept that.

Radiation is still scheduled to begin three days after Christmas on the 28th.  Plans are confirmed that I will undergo 6 treatments in total.  Here is the update…

I will be the first person in the entire clinic to be undergoing the highest dose of radiation ever given with this particular type of treatment. 

How and why? 

He explained that many factors contribute to the delicately computer calculated dose.  My anatomy, the location and size of the lesion (tumour), risk assessment, etc., etc.   The tumour is localizable. 

Time to discuss the risks. 

This was the bigger part of our phone conversation.  Let me put it in short form.  The risks are because the liver tumour is in a major highway zone.  It’s near my spinal cord, near one lung and right up in the traffic of a major blood vessel (IVC – intra vena cava).

– risk of spinal cord damage (I assume permanent)

– risk of lung becoming fibrotic  (permanent damage)

– inflammation of a lung (which is treatable by steroids)

– low chance of bone damage and/or fracture

– low chance of vessel damage

– fatigue, fatigue, fatigue and other temporary side effects like nausea

Keeping in mind that this dose has never been tested yet, the doctors can only estimated the percentage of risk.

I asked him what the results have  been with previous patients receiving this newer type of treatment, with a somewhat similar dose.  He said the results either have been published or will be published very soon.  He explained that 60 patients in total from my clinic and a clinic in Michigan are what the stats are based on. 

50 – 60% of those patients experienced a relapse (cancer returned)   Future radiation to treat a relapse not likely a possibility due to damage of tissues, however other options may be available such as chemotherapy depending on case specific relapse, ie number & location of lesions, also surgery not likely an option

30% — no relapse after 3 years, optimistic and expecting outright cure.  This is very amazing to me as normal prognosis at this point before radiation is estimated 6 to 12 months.

He was honest and up front with me.  He said he himself was somewhat nervous but very optimistic and reassured me that I will be monitored very, very closely both during and after treatment. 

Am I nervous?   Heck yes.   Am I scared?  Yes and no.   Am I ready?  Yes!

Positive thinking equals positive mind and body.  

I am heading to bed for the night for some much needed pillow power.

Sweet dreams for a cancer-free future!!!