Monday, August 13, 2007

So What's My Current Medical Status?

One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep my family and friends updated on my medical condition. I know it's often awkward to ask a cancer patient how they're doing since the news is usually bad, and a lot of healthy people feel guilty for even asking, so hopefully this blog will make it easier for everyone to stay informed.

I had some follow-up tests, including a CT scan, done in July. I also got a second opinion from another oncologist. The news was bleak: despite some massive and unpleasant chemotherapy every two weeks since February, the metastasis on my liver has returned and is now larger than the original one removed last December. Because the chemo failed, it has been discontinued (I'm not too upset with that; I won't miss the fatigue, nausea, nosebleeds, etc., that accompanied the chemo!). Radiation is not an option, and the only surgical option is to remove the entire right lobe of my liver, something I immediately dismissed when I learned the mortality rate for that procedure is 30%.

In other words, there isn't much else that can be done for me going forward other than treating my symptoms as they arise. My estimated survival time is 12 to 15 months from August 2007. I should be fine for the rest of 2007 and early 2008, but I will start developing symptoms by spring 2008 and will likely be in deep do-do by the time summer 2008 rolls around.

I think the precise medical terminology for my situation is "royally screwed."

At any rate, I'm doing fine at the moment-----actually getting better as the effects of the chemo start to wear off-----and Di and I are hanging in there very well considering the circumstances. I've started work on my next book and I'm looking forward to some horseback riding and travel this fall.

My next CT scan and visit to the oncologist is scheduled for early December, so unless something extraordinary happens this will be the last medical update for a while. I'm still here, still standing, and still enjoying life; things could be a lot worse!