The Results

If you’ve been following my cancer saga you will know that I went to the doctor earlier this month and it was determined my cancer had flared up again. The big question was, “Where is the cancer now?”

After a day of phone calls between my doctor and insurance company, I was able to get a PET scan yesterday. If you missed the blog post about all of that, you can find it HERE.

I told you in that post that the last person I talked to wasn’t very nice. I had asked if I could see my doctor right away after the scan. If you’ve been following along I told you that it isn’t normal as often from the time the scan is done to the time you see your doctor is 6 hours. I questioned the nurse who scheduled my appointments and she said “No worries. My doctor would make it happen.” So I told the receptionist what the nurse had said the previous week.

The receptionist RUDELY told me that she had been working at Mayo Clinic for over 20 years and that just does not happen. I told her I knew it could. My husband died of lung cancer and it was done for him.

She again rudely reminded me that she had been there for over 20 years.

I accepted this and then called and talked to the care team. It turns out my doctor wasn’t going to be in the office in the afternoon…

So…I got to my appointment at 12:45 pm but didn’t get called back for a bit.

I finally got to the back. If you haven’t had a PET scan, it’s kind of a weird process. It doesn’t hurt, just unusual.

The put a IV in…

Then they give you a dose of radioactive sugar…then the odd part comes. They turn off the lights, recline you in the chair, and give you a warm blanket. They close the curtain and you are told to relax and even try to nap. UGH. This is torture for me. I don’t nap. So I lay there. I try to keep my brain quiet as that’s what they want me to do. I just sing church hymns in my head.

After the hour is up, they take you out, make you use the restroom, and take you to the scan room. It lasts about 15 minutes or so.

After the scan is over patients go home and wait for the results.

I am not a shopper so I hopped my van and went to Chick-fil-A. That restaurant is one that my niece Jody often stopped at on her way home from her cancer appointments. In fact, I sent her several gift cards for there as she stopped so often. It’s on my way home and I tell myself stopping is my way of commiserating over my cancer journey with her. (For those of you who don’t know, she died of breast cancer in 2019).

I ate as I drove. I wanted to get home.

About 45 minutes out of town I stopped for gas…(THANKS to some special blog readers who sent gas cards and money to me for my fight against this cancer. I used a gifted Kwik Trip gas card.)

As the gas was pumping, I looked at my phone. My test results had come in. Hmm. I have no idea when they were sent as my phone was on silent when I was getting my PET scan and I forgot to turn in back on.

Apparently, I was right and people don’t have to wait 6 hours for PET scan results. (So much for the receptionist’s 20 years of experience) My results came in less than an hour!!

Well I read my results…

I don’t really know for sure what they mean. Well, I think I understand them but they are in doctor lingo. Here’s what it says:
“New osteolytic metastasis in the L5 vertebral body posteriorly with soft tissue component, SUV max 4.7 (image 218). Additional indeterminate focal uptake at the left aspect of the L1 vertebral body.”

Long and short. The cancer is in my spine at L5 and L1.

Here’s a little A&P refresher. L5 is right before your hips…L1 is up a bit from that.

I am not sure how that will be treated. There are a few other things in the report that I don’t know if are significant….maybe a lymph node? So I am not sure how they will treat this. Originally I was told that they might use external radiation if it was in my bones…so that’s on the table. I have a phone appointment with my doctor on Monday in the early afternoon. I’m sure she’ll have a plan of attack ready for me then.

I’ve said before that as a cancer patient, the waiting is much harder when there is no plan in place. Once there is a plan in place, you just work the plan. At least then you feel like you’re doing something so your brain can settle down from all the what ifs.

I do want to thank the area Relay for Life group. On Saturday when we had Karl’s party, they held an event in the park. They do luminaries along the river. I looked out and saw it. It was so pretty and meaningful to so many with cancer and their loved ones.

It turns out there was a luminary there for me. Oh, how sweet.

The luminary was at my back door when I got home that night. I am so thankful I am blessed with supportive people in my life from my kids and grandkids…to friends…to all of you. One of best things in life is having people by my side when things get tough. Thanks so much for being there.

As always, I tell you more when I know more.

47 thoughts on “The Results”

  1. I’m glad you didn’t have to wait long for your results, Jo. At least now you know why your markers were so high, and where the cancer is. As you say, once you have a plan, you can start working through it. We’re all thinking of you, sending love to you and your family.

  2. Jo – so happy you have results – even if they weren’t what you expected – at least your doctors can put a plan into effect. Praying for the doctors and whoever else is involved to get a plan together quickly for you so that you aren’t in limbo so long.
    As for the woman who has worked at Mayo for 20 years, I do feel sorry for her. Maye she had an off day or two – maybe she needs a new job. Whatever the case, she needs some prayers too.
    Love and prayers

  3. Cynthia from Nebraska

    Hi Jo,
    It’s good to know what you are fighting and to have a plan. You have a LOT of people on your side, many of whom you have never met!

  4. Hi Jo: Thank you for the update. I believe in prayer and the power of community. You have many people praying for you and the hope there is a miracle. I too am going through breast cancer treatment. Knowledge is a good thing. It feels like we can fight. My prayer for you is to feel good, sleep well, live well and fight like HECK! You are loved.

    Cindy
    in northern Illinois

  5. Jo: I so understand where you are at. My pet scan done on Aug 10 showed my cancer is in progressive stage now and I am headed to The James in Columbus on Tuesday for the treatment plan. Was told my prognosis is excellent but I will have side effects for the treatment. Will be thinking of you Monday

  6. Continued prayers. Knowledge is power. It sounds like you have a dr you trust and that’s huge too. Hope Monday’s news will help you move forward. Hope you can do sone stitching this weekend!

  7. At least you were able to have the scan done… one step forward. Prayers for peace of mind as you wait for your doctor appointment and a plan is set in place. Love the luminary… so thoughtful and meaningful.

  8. Sheila Fernkopf

    Prayers for peace as you wait to find out your treatment plan.
    Such a thoughtful luminary!
    Know so many you have never met love you and your family and many prayers are being said.

  9. Hi Jo, Thank you for sharing this update with us. I know you don’t do it because you want people to feel sorry for you- you hate that! But you do it because you know we are concerned, and we care very much for you, and only want the best for you. So I know you can feel all the love and prayers and good vibes coming your way. I just know it! We are with you.

  10. Hi Jo!
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for the plan forward in your fight. You have a great attitude which is a huge benefit in the fight. Hugs!

  11. I think some days you just put one foot in front of the other and you just keep moving till answers come in. This is where you are now. Do wonderful things for yourself today. We are with you in thoughts and prayers. God is with you always.

  12. Thank you for the update, Jo. You have been on my mind and in my prayers a lot lately. I will continue to pray for your healing and that your doctors quickly find the right plan. And, that you have no more insurance issues…nor encounter rude people. Love and hugs to you!

  13. Prayers for peace for you and your family. Prayers for healing for you,
    and wisdom for the doctor as they make a plan of attack against this new cancer.

  14. Prayers for you and your family, and your readers that know cancer first hand. Prayers for your doctor and team that come with the treatment plan for you.

  15. Jo, sent you several emails ( long story!) but not sure to correct email so I’ll put info here. Saw a new pattern that I thought you would love- tried to send a pic and couldn’t. It just said to me “For Jo’s stash” when I saw it. Maybe you can look it up and dream about doing it some day during your treatments. You are on my prayer list.
    Pattern is —A Sampler for all Seasons-by Scarlett House. It can be pre- ordered now. I don’t usually do ones this large, but I have to do this one!
    You have a great attitude about your cancer and that is going to serve you well.
    Love reading your blog every single day!,
    Barb F
    Canandaigua, NY

  16. Carmen Montmarquet

    Thank You for keeping us posted! Besides your wonderful family and friends standing besides you, you have US! Know we are praying for you and your doctors to come up with a plan to kick this cancer’s butt! We love you Jo!

  17. Thank you for the update, Jo. So glad you were able to get the results so that a plan can be set in motion.
    Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way.

  18. What you say about the waiting for results and looking forward to a plan resonates with so many of us in the same boat. Prayers for strength and healing are being sent your way.
    Linda

  19. Half the battle when dealing with an issue such as cancer is remaining upbeat and determined. You have many people rooting for you and hoping your plan gets put into action as quickly as possible. You are a fighter; we will all be behind you rooting for you all the way.

  20. Prayers were answered by you being able to finally get your scan done. Now prayers are going up to cover you in love. May you feel the miracles of friendship and faith working for you. Thank you for reaching out to others even while you are dealing with your own set of issues. God Bless and keep you in His care.

  21. Arrowhead Gramma

    Jo, please know that my prayers will continue for you each and every day. We know that God hears and answers our prayers. Take care and Kramer Strong.

  22. I just do not know what to say. Would like to be able to wisk these results away of course. It is true there is too much cancer and why isnt there a cure by now ?
    So sorry you and your lovely family have to go through this again. Treatments can be a challenge but you are so strong and practical of it all. Please know that saying that our prayers for you are not just platitudes. The love for the busy quilting, stitching, gardening, canine fosterer, beautiful mother and grandmother is so apparent in the messages you are receiving. Hopefully after this has a plan you will be able to feel all the love coming your way.

  23. Pamela Meyers Arbour

    I’m glad you got your results quickly. I am sorry to hear that it has spread to other parts. It sounds like they do have a plan for you. If they are anything like MD Anderson, I am sure their team is going over your chart and results to find the best outcome. The only test that I have had at MD Anderson that took a little time to get the results were my bone marrow biopsies. They do get some initial results immediately, but the full results take a couple of weeks. I don’t know why. My prayers go out to you.

  24. So glad you have that step completed. If you are like me, the hymns can be such a comfort. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  25. Now you know and now you can move on with a plan for treatment and healing. I continue my prayers for you and your family as the journey continues, cancer sucks.

  26. Knowing is always better than not knowing. Prayers for wisdom for the Drs. in their planning for the best way forward. Prayers for you and your family for strength and peace and positive attitudes to carry you through the coming months.

  27. You are such a wonderful person. I don’t even know you at all. I just read your blog and I feel better because of the person you are. I am new to your blog, and I feel so blessed that I can go back and read about your life. It inspires me. Thank you. Take it easy and let people do things for you. It sounds like you have a great team. Get well soon. Thank you for sharing your life–all of it.
    diana

  28. Jo, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I’m glad you will hopefully get a plan rolling on Monday. I understand what you mean aout it being easier when you can begin the step by step journey. Every day is a gift and we need to celebrate the everyday things. Please feel the love and hugs coming your way.

  29. Get well greetings from Greece, Jo. I lit a candle for you in Greek Orthodox church. You’ve been so generous to our patchwork group in Athens.
    xxpat

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