So my last blog was called ‘The results…take one’ well here’s why…
It was now the 11th of May and time for my appointment with my Oncologist (consultant). Going in to the appointment I was of course nervous. The nervous being, what if I’d be told I needed surgery to remove the bits of the tumours that remained. The ‘positive’ thoughts were telling me how the results had said, ‘no further action required’.
Either way, I was about to find out.
Accompanied by Robin (my wife) we went in to the appointment. As always my consultant showed such compassion. She didn’t just focus on the ‘cancer’ but asked both of us how we were doing, both physically and mentally and of course we returned the ‘off cancer’ conversation by asking how her holiday had been!
Dr Evans went on to tell me that although the results were positive, due to my case being unusual (not a text book Seminoma cancer) she wanted me to have some further tests. These were to consist of an Ultra Sound and a PET scan.
I won’t lie, this really unnerved me, the positive news I’d received a few days earlier seemed to be cast into doubt. Dr Evans clearly picked up on mine and Robins facial expressions and went on to tell us that she wants to be as confident as possible that the cancer was gone and that the scans I’d had during diagnosis hadn’t missed anything in my testis. When she put it like that; my mind was more accepting. Of course, two further tests, another set of doctors, nurses, consultants and surgeons looking at a new set of results has got to be a good thing for ‘peace of mind’.
This would seem a logical thought process; but when you’ve had months of ‘what ifs’ and waiting for test results, the thought of waiting for more tests to be carried out seemed painful for my mind to process.
So why these extra tests? The Ultra sound was requested due to the fact that the Ultra Sound I had prior to treatment hadn’t shown any tumour in my testis; however, it’s been shown that after treatment, scaring can show up and highlight where the cancer may have hidden itself pre treatment.
The PET scan was chosen as my ‘tumour markers’ had been pretty consistent throughout diagnosis and treatment, therefore they couldn’t be used as a clear sign of the ‘cancerous cells’ in my blood results. If you’re not aware of what a Tumour marker is, here’s a brief description from Wikipedia.
‘A tumour marker is a biomarker found in blood, urine, or body tissues that can be elevated by the presence of one or more types of cancer.’
So what does a PET scan do?
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are used to produce detailed 3-dimensional images of the inside of the body
In it’s simplest form a PET scan consists of you being injected with a ‘radioactive sugar’ that after an hour of rest (you have to lay down in a dark room) circulates throughout your body and then you go under a device that is similar if not the same as a CT scanner which takes images of your body. As I’m sure you’re aware Cancer ‘loves’ sugar, so if the cancer is still active in your body the ‘radioactive sugar’ glows as it’s eaten by the cancer. For a much more detailed and exact explanation of a PET scan, follow this link to the NHS website.
Leaving the appointment with Dr Evans I was deflated, but my optimistic and supportive wife once again brought me back to ‘ reality’ and the thought process of ‘wouldn’t you be happier they double and triple check everything’ rather than missing something?’. Absolutely and how grateful I (we) should be that we have the NHS and it’s team of people that are able to provide this service and care to us.
The scans were to take place over the next two weeks. So for now, it was a matter of being patient, keeping positive (there’s that phrase again) and putting all my trust in the NHS and trying to enjoy the Spring weather in the garden!
Next time, the final results.
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