I had my follow-up appointment today with Dr. Specht, follow-up to my CT scan of yesterday. The CT scan went fine in and of itself, once I finally got in for it. You see, when I woke up yesterday morning at 7:00am for my 8:00am scan, I was hungry, and since it was just a chest CT, I ate 20 grapes. Unfortunately, you're not supposed to eat anything before a chest CT (I knew this was true of the abdomen CT, and I'm not at all sure how I missed it for a chest CT)—not even grapes, not even green ones which are practically clear—because evidently any food distorts your stomach and can push other things (liver, lungs) out of position as well. And, as I found out recently, the stomach is actually really high up in the chest. Anyway, I had to wait until 10:00am to finally get my test done, so Mom and I just went back home, and I slept for another 45 minutes and then we went back to the clinic (I did not plan on spending a lot of time at the SCCA when I bought this house in 2000, but it has certainly worked out well for me). They got me in right away (I was shocked), and I actually felt like I could take a deeper breath and hold it more easily for this test than I could in the last one.
So back to today. Dr. Specht was about 30 minutes late for the appointment, but for some reason I didn't mind at all. I mean, of course I understood that she was busy, and that it was Friday afternoon and therefore she might be really busy, but more than that, it really just didn't bother me to wait. Ian and Mom were with me and we chatted. I don't know if they were nervous about the appointment, but I wasn't at all. I used to be all freaked out the night before a doctor's visit, not able to sleep well, jittery the next day, hardly able to go through the basest pleasantries with the doctor—"Hello," "Hello"—without jumping out of my skin, anxious for results. But last night and today weren't like that at all, and in fact none of the doctor's visits I've had this time around have been like that. It's all part of my (still sometimes surprising, even to me) new attitude about this disease and what it means in my life. Why worry about a doctor visit? It will be what it will be, and nothing I toss and turn about will matter in the least.
Anyway, it's good that I wasn't antsy, because Dr. Specht first asked me about my oxygen levels and how I'd been doing since I got home and we talked about stairs and eating and how amazed Mom was when I lifted myself out of the bath on the second day—she thought she would need to call 911 for some beefy stud to pull me out—and we took off my oxygen mask for awhile to test what I really needed (not a whole heck of a lot it turns out when I'm sitting still—like none at all).
When she finally turned to the CT results, she introduced them with something like "This is the best news I've gotten to deliver all week!" Yes, my CT looks good! There's still lots of cancer, of course, but the nodules have been steadily shrinking over the last month, even though I haven't been on chemo (although as you know I did restart Herceptin), even though I was in the hospital with pneumonia, even though things seemed to be changing only very slowly back at the beginning. Not only do my lungs look obviously better, my tumor marker blood test number has fallen, if not precipitously, at least significantly. All this makes Dr. Specht, in addition to very happy, very willing to keep me on the Taxol and Navelbine, because clearly they were doing good. So I start up chemo again on Monday, with very few changes from a month ago, except I no longer need lots of hydration (2 hours' worth!) because the tumor mass is smaller, and I am going to be taking a prophylactic dose of Bactrim, the sulfa drug I took as the cure for my pneumonia, just to be on the safe side.
I seem to have lost about 10 pounds since last seeing Dr. Specht in clinic, which puts me back where I was before all the dexamethazone, and my cheekbones are back!
And my doctor was happy!