So remember last June when I went to get my CT scan results at the hospital only to be told they hadn’t been completed yet? And that the saving grace of that whole debacle was being driven to the hospital in Spain’s ONLY Jaguar taxi??? Well, it happened again today. The Jaguar bit. The test results were all there today.
I mean, what are the odds? I didn’t even notice I was back in the Jag until I slid into the back seat (the driver held the door open for me) and saw THAT LOGO on the dashboard. And then I got all fan girl again, asking Pedro if he was still the only Jaguar taxi in Spain (he is) and also asking if I could get a card from him this time (which is how I know his name now). And then I thought… maybe this is a good sign, that everything is going to be alright.
Well, after waiting over an hour in Oncology I got to see my doctor, and she told me that I appear to be cancer free. Good news, right? Except I am still processing all this.
Since the PET scan a year ago that set off alarm bells, when the “area of inflammation” that has been showing up on my PET scans since 2008 had increased dramatically (previously it had been slowly shrinking), I have undergone a whack of testing: colonoscopy, endoscopy, several blood tests and 3 CT scans (latest CT was in November). And now, apparently, I am fine.
Well, that’s good! Glad to hear it, and all that. But now what? I mean, really, now what? My oncologist told me today that after ten years “cancer free” patients are given the “alta” (not sure what this is called in English) and regular scans and check ups are no longer required. I was told that if I experience pain or other symptoms, that they will check me again. Otherwise… nuthin’?
I don’t know. I mean, I am obviously happy that they have decided I am cancer-free after all this time. But, you know, I had fucking stage-4 colon cancer with metastisis to my liver and peritoneum and, to this day, none of my doctors understand why I am still here. I also know that by the time you feel pain caused by cancer you are already pretty much a goner. It’s the preventative testing that saves lives. So why am I getting kicked out of this option?
Okay, I wasn’t totally being shown the door. Because when I asked the doctor what sort of “control testing” they would be doing with me from this point on… well, she caved and said that they could do an abdominal ultrasound with blood tests in six months. And okay fine… I’ll take it.
I mean, I get it. CT scans are expensive, and PET scans even more so. In comparison an ultrasound is nothing. But once you’ve been through all I have gone through, and have talked with so many doctors, and never feeling like you are getting the whole story… it’s hard to believe you’re being told the whole truth. But for now, this is what I have.
This photo of a floppy – almost boneless! – Luna shows how happy and relieved I am that my dear friend Ann got through her surgery yesterday without a hitch. It also shows how she is feeling right now, now back at home and ready to heal. Sending strong thoughts to you darling and hope to tapeo again with you soon. xx
After having my oncology appointment postponed a couple of times, I finally got in to see my doctor. And the news was kind of the same as the last time. The good news is that the inflamed area is a bit smaller than it was in March, so that seems hopeful. The “bad” news isn’t actually bad. But they still want to keep a watch on this, so another CT scan is scheduled for November, at which time they will probably also do another endoscopy. Meanwhile I am to get in touch if any of the scary symptoms return (abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss).
Anyhow, after leaving the hospital we stopped in at Las Teresas for a celebratory glass of cava with jamón. So until November… am really going to try to just get on with things, but it is difficult for me to just relax about all this. Still, very glad that it wasn’t actually bad news.
So this morning was THE BIG DAY. After several months of tests, including the original PET scan, then a colonoscopy, endoscopy, blood tests, a CT scan with another follow-up CT last week… I was finally going to get my results. To hopefully tell me what is going on with the mysterious “area of inflammation” they found during my last PET scan in February.
I won’t lie. I’ve been a bit of a mess about this since they started “investigating” this inflammation. I do my best to live in denial and just carry on with my life, but when it comes to stuff like booking a tapas tour a few months in advance, I am left wondering if I’ll actually be able to do it. Likewise with my summer plans. I’ve been putting everything on hold until I got the “go ahead”. Which was supposed to be today.
Except it wasn’t. I got to the hospital and after more than an hour in the hot and crowded waiting room, I was shown into the oncologist’s office… only to be told the CT scan results hadn’t been processed yet. WTF? My oncologist looked surprised and said – “oh, didn’t they call you yesterday?”. Well of course they hadn’t fucking called me yesterday, otherwise I wouldn’t have been there. Also, I wouldn’t have lost most of this week in a state of suspended emotion, not daring to feel or hope… JUST IN CASE. And so I sat there not believing this was happening. Then the doctor pulled a date out of the air – July 5th – to meet again, saying that FOR SURE the results will have been processed by then. Well, what choice do I have?
I walked out of the hospital feeling a whole whack of mixed emotions. In some ways I was relieved because “no news is good news”. Well, maybe. But I was also annoyed at having lost my entire morning, not just the 3 hours getting to and from the hospital, and waiting there, but really the whole day up until then. BUT… what saved the entire experience from total disaster was… my taxi! I always taxi to the hospital and then usually walk back, mostly because I am so stressed before going that a taxi is a comfortable and easy way of getting there.
Anyhow check it out. I got into the taxi, not paying much attention. Then I noticed the big JAGUAR logo on the dashboard screen. And so I stupidly said to the driver – THIS IS A JAGUAR??? Then I went all fan girl, saying how Jags were my favourite cars and that I couldn’t believe that I was in a Jaguar taxi. The driver informed me that not only was this was the only Jaguar taxi in Sevilla, it was the only one in Spain. WOW. I told him that I was going to the hospital for test results and that I took this as a positive sign, and also that it was so cool that I’d be arriving there in style. And bless him, he said he was sure this meant everything was going to be okay. Then he showed me a photo of his friend’s taxi – the only Maserati taxi in Spain. I’m telling you, this totally MADE MY DAY. Being driven to the hospital in a Jaguar XF.
Meanwhile, I now have two more weeks of hellish anxiety until the next oncology appointment. I wish I would have asked my driver for his card so I could always call him up when I have to go to the hospital…