PET Scan Results Inconclusive: Not the results I was hoping for

My oncologist called with my PET scan results. Inconclusive. As we knew already, the tumor has shrunk. It’s down to 2cm (from 7cm, what the October PET scan showed), but most of that is dead scar tissue. However, the scan showed a couple “lights,” spots of living cells. Whether those lights are malignant cancer cells or harmless non-cancerous cells is unknown.

So we need to biopsy them. My oncologist is in the process of setting that up. Not sure what sort of biopsy that will end up being, but “least invasive” was the catchphrase.

If the biopsy turns up clean, we’ll continue with radiation. If it doesn’t, it means more chemo, possibly a stem cell transplant procedure, or both. We didn’t go into details. Apparently, the radiation isn’t to kill any last remaining cancer cells but to do some other sort of mop up only after all the other tests show zero cancer cells.

Inconclusive. Unknown. If.

Finding out you have cancer is like having the walls of your house suddenly come caving in on you, the foundation of stability and security you took for granted becoming just so much detritus. And the requisite uncertainty and waiting that seems to be an obligatory part of having cancer is like someone tossing bucketloads of granite and cement on top of it all while you’re trying to dig your way out. Yeah. We hates it we do.

I’m trying really hard to be optimistic, or at least hold off my meltdown until after the biopsy results. But it feels like I was just beginning to get my life back, just starting to find my footing as something other than “cancer patient.” And the prospect of having to go through it all over again makes me want to kick my feet, howl, and sob.

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40 Responses to PET Scan Results Inconclusive: Not the results I was hoping for

  1. Terrible to go through this. I just hope it helps that you know so many people care.

  2. Shae Connor says:

    *hugs you tight*

  3. Eugie Foster says:

    Thanks, Louise. And it really does.

  4. Liz Williams says:

    Yes, what Louise says. Very much hoping for the best possible outcome.

  5. Well, foo. Preparing to howl and sob with you, and hoping with all hope that it’s not needed.

  6. Eugie Foster says:

    Thank you, Liz and Lisa. Trying very hard to re-find my sense of optimism.

  7. I am all full of hope for you. Sometimes the truth cannot be seen immediately. *hugs*

  8. Dislike is not nearly strong enough. Your description of what this seeming setback feels like is brilliant. Love, hugs and prayers as the fight goes on.

  9. Amy Uzarski says:

    Good luck Eugie. I’m rooting for you.

  10. Vandy Beth Glenn says:

    Let me know if you need any of my stem cells. If it comes to that.

    • Eugie Foster says:

      *hugs* You are awesome beyond awesomeness. If I do need stem cells, the best case scenario–and the likeliest–would be my own harvested and then transfused back.

  11. Cassy Gordon says:

    Hey Eugie, I am sorry that the tests were inconclusive, and I know it is scary! You’re the strongest person I know (I mean HONESTLY, walking stairs even with breaks after chemo, who does that?! :D), and I know you will be ok. It is hard when you are scared not to let your brain think of all the terrible possible outcomes, but don’t let your fear of the future keep you from reveling in the victories of the right now. *many hugs and much love!*

  12. Ian Whates says:

    Echoing everyone else, I know, but really wishing you all the best, Eugie.

  13. Janice Clark says:

    Ack!! More waiting!! I hope the biopsy is more definite (on the good side, of course) and that you can find lots of distractions to make it through yet another waiting period. Onward and upward!

  14. Eugie Foster says:

    Cassy: *so many hugs* I don’t feel at all strong right now. I feel like having a temper tantrum (which would be awkward, as I’m not at home right now). Stupid brain. Stupid PET scan. Stupid cancer. *kicks ALL the bad things*

  15. Cassy Gordon says:

    I don’t know, temper tantrums can be restorative, besides it isn’t good to keep stuff locked up. I use to put a large paper box out in the yard against a wall and buy a cheap box of glasses and throw them as hard as I could at the wall (the box is because I didn’t want to pick up broken glass and I am OCD lol). There’s something satisfying about the sound of breaking glass, and honestly I think the effort to throw something hard enough to break it!

  16. Max says:

    Much love, Eugie!

    Try and hang on to “smaller”. Not much consolation when the danger of going through more chemo is looming over you, I know, but even if the biopsy doesn’t come back well (though I’m sure it will!), 7cm down to 2cm is still going in the right direction and 10 years from now you will be healthy and well and these horrible months will be a distant memory.

    I can’t possibly know what you’re going through so I hope one of your fans who unfortunately knows this beast more personally than I can provide better words than me.

    Until then, know that you are loved by many.

    *hugs*

  17. Jenn M says:

    I’m so sorry. I am glad there is still some hope in there. I like the sound of shrinking, but yeah, it would be much better to get it all.

  18. Have a tantrum as soon as possible. Kick things, throw things (might want to buy some cheap dishes and throw them), and bite some pillows. And you don’t need to feel strong…just know that we see you that way. All will be well…

  19. I’m so sorry you didn’t get the results you were hoping for but please don’t lose hope. It’s always a long road back from cancer and you still have options. Hopefully, the biopsy will be conclusive (and good) and you can continue your treatment as originally planned. In the meantime, find that corner and kick your feet, howl, and sob. It will help.

  20. Major suckage.

    However, the tumor HAS shrunk. You are kicking cancer’s ass. You just haven’t quite knocked it out of the park yet.

    Buy yourself a fresh pair of shiny boots and resume kicking.

  21. Mary Iverson says:

    We are there with you! Wrapped around you! You have every right to kick, scream, jump, holler,…what ever it takes! Persevere………Xoxoxoox

  22. Jenn says:

    I am so pulling for you and am so sorry that you have to go through this. You have displayed a grace and strength through this that has simply amazed and humbled me.

  23. Nivair says:

    No wonder you’re angry! I HATE uncertainty. I’ll be thinking of you, sending all the strong & serene thoughts I can. I think it’s so amazing that in Round 1 you vanquished 5 out of 7 centimeters! 5/7 is approximately 71%! I already knew you were a superwoman, but not even cancer can stop you from continuing to prove it. You have all my best wishes for the biopsy!

  24. Eugie Foster says:

    Joshua Villines: Yeah. :/

  25. We all know you’re awesome, and that anyone who gets to know you wants to hang out with you as long as possible, but someone please inform every last obnoxious cancer cell that this does NOT apply to them. Stupid cancer. Doesn’t even have the sense to get the hell out of town when it’s being shown the door.

    You will make it to the other side of this, and you will kick its ass.

  26. Jeri Klein says:

    *does bunny cheer with glittery Pom Poms* <3

  27. So help me Jeri, I read that as “Porn Poms” and had a moment of delirium wondering what that might look like…

  28. Hugme Allman says:

    XKCD’s wife had breast cancer. While I didn’t know either of them personally I read their blog posts daily and had been doing so for many years already. He didn’t announce it for some time, she went through the long, long treatment process and all of us who were avid readers of theirs lives held our breath every time she went in for more tests. I first started learning about this long process from their experiences. She was given a 60/40 chance and she is a survivor. Whether you know it or not so many of us are going through this with you, reading every word, every post wondering how you are doing. You may not see us but we are with you at ever appointment, we hold our breath each time you take a test until the result is here. You’re strong and you’re a survivor too. You’re not alone, we are all here with you.

  29. Phil Collins says:

    Eugie, please remember that physicians always hedge their bets to avoid giving false hope. Please stay optimistic. Much love and prayer headed your way!

  30. Sending hugs and fervent hopes the howls will not be needed. *Hugs*

  31. Derwin Mak says:

    I will keep thinking of you and hoping you will get better.

  32. E Krock says:

    From 7 cm to 2 cm. volume = 4/3 PI R^3, so even if the remaining 2 cm were all living cancer — and there’s no reason to think it is — you have killed a shitload of cancer cells. Here’s prayer that the remainder are just scar tissue or whatever. Sorry we don’t have a conclusive clean bill of health yet, but you’re winning and inspiring us all. One day at a time … you’re winning …

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