I wish I could tell you that the news from Paul’s PET scan this morning was good. I wish I could tell you that the radiation zapped the tumor into oblivion. Oh, how I wish I could tell you that we’re now into the periodic scan phase of this go-round with cancer.
But I can’t.
The news is not good. The PET scan lit up.
It didn’t light up “like a Christmas tree,” as you sometimes hear. The area that lit up was considerably smaller than in Paul’s pre-treatment scan, and the rest of the scan looked the same as before.
While the diagnostic radiologist’s report on the scan wasn’t done in time for Paul’s noon doctor appointment, Dr. Liao is fairly certain that the bright spot on the scan is cancer. It’s been long enough since the end of radiation that the glow isn’t likely to be from tissue that’s still healing. And there’s a sore spot in the back of Paul’s mouth that hasn’t healed, right about where the scan lit up, that Dr. Liao said looks a bit worse than at Paul’s last appointment.
Still, the news could be worse. The cancer is localized, and there’s less of it.
So what now? At this point, surgery appears to be the only option for getting rid of the tumor, as Paul has had the maximum radiation dose they can give him (for the next few years, anyway), and chemotherapy alone is not curative for this cancer.
Dr. Liao thinks that, with the reduction in size of the tumor, it will be more easily resectable, but we’re still looking at major surgery in an area that has already been subjected to both radiation and previous major surgery.
After we got home this afternoon, and had a long cry and a way-too-late lunch, the scheduler from the UW Otolaryngology department called. Paul has an appointment with Dr. Futran, the surgeon who performed his cancer surgery in 2004, at 8:15 tomorrow morning.
More to come. Please keep sending your good thoughts, love, prayers and well wishes our way.