Both the oncologist and the nurse practitioner said that this was the most ambiguous report they had ever seen. They contacted the radiologist to confirm the findings and the answer was that whatever is in my liver is likely to be metastatic breast cancer, but that whatever is there is so small and so poorly defined that they can't even compare it to the previous scans. In short, the lesions are TSTC ... too small to classify.
(These lesions are new findings as of May. There is little to no chance that they are anything but disease, but they are not "full-blown lesions.")
My tumor markers continue to fall and now stand at 11.6. That's a total 81.5% drop from the start of this current chemo. Based on the markers and the fact that I'm feeling quite well, as well as the lack of any new findings, I am going to continue on the current treatment plan and get rescanned in nine weeks (after three more cycles). My next scan will be a PET/CT scan that will more accurately reflect metabolic activity, as well as location of lesions. I will have blood tests every three weeks to monitor the markers. My liver functions are quite normal and there is no swelling or abnormalities to be felt in the liver.
While I'm mildly disappointed that the liver wasn't "clean," I am overjoyed at the overall findings. My bones continue to look good, with almost complete resolution in many of the lesion sites. There is no cancer to be seen elsewhere in my body.
Living in cancerland has its emotional extremes. I'm learning to rejoice with those who rejoice ... my friend, Wanda, was declared in remission this week, against all odds. I'm also learning to weep with those who weep. My friend, Bryant, is standing at the threshold of the shimmering curtain of eternity, preparing to cross that threshold to the other side. My heart aches for him and his family and what they are experiencing right now and Bryant is constantly in my heart.
I don't understand why I'm responding so well. I'm doing nothing different than others with cancer, except for maybe the fact that I voraciously read everything I can about current research. (And even then, I'm not alone in my research.) However, I follow my doctor's recommendations and ask questions when necessary. I do follow a special diet, but so do many others with cancer and their response isn't the same.
Don't get me wrong ... I'm extremely grateful. I'm just also conflicted. I'm glad I don't take the good news for granted. It won't last forever (unless God decides to have it last forever), but it's good enough for today.
I'm living my daily miracle and I'm loving it. Bryant and Wanda are living daily miracles as well, just very different ones. Bryant's miracle is the hugest one of all, but one that can be fraught with fear and anxiety. Please pray for healing and peace for him and his family.