The Scan.

This Friday, I have my first post-treatment CT scan. The appointment with Dr. Liao to go over the results will be Monday morning.

The purpose of the scan is to see what’s currently happening at the tumor site. We’ve had to wait two months since the end of treatment to allow my mouth to heal up enough that the scan wouldn’t just show the tissue damage from the treatment itself. We’re now at a point where what shows up on the scan should be meaningful. This is really our first chance (beyond Dr. Liao’s observations early on) to see whether the treatment worked.

Am I nervous about this?

Hell, yes.

My coping mechanism for dealing with the anxiety mostly involves focusing on other things. I’ve gone back to work, which helps by giving me a big list of complicated things to get wrapped up in. There are all sort of household chores and mini-improvement projects I can throw myself into, and I’ve been doing that with increasing intensity. And I’m still recuperating, so making sure I’m getting enough calories and rest still takes conscious effort, and keeps me from obsessing (much).

At other times, I try to calmly consider how the site feels. There’s some pain when I open my mouth wide, but that’s quite likely due to expected muscle tightness from the radiation. There is some other lingering soreness at the site, but most of the healed tissues in my mouth are still sensitive, and you’d expect that spot to be the worst.

Still, as the date of the scan gets nearer, I find myself feeling increasingly anxious. And this coming weekend, between the scan and hearing the results, will be pretty tense.

What I want to hear, obviously, is that the scan shows no sign of disease, so the treatment definitely worked, and I can go forth to continue recuperating and begin a series of regular monitoring appointments. Yippee!

What I’m afraid of hearing is that the scan shows some sign of disease, so the treatment was not completely successful, and we’ll need to plan the next steps. I haven’t spent much time thinking about where this might lead, because there are too many unknowns, but it keeps popping into my thoughts. Surgery? Probably. Not good stuff? Definitely.

I’m also worried about the third option: ambiguous results. I’ve looked at enough scans to know they are hard to interpret and don’t come with special color coding on abnormal tissue that clearly indicates “radiation scarring” or “cancer.” I really hope that we don’t end up with this. I really want to know something on Monday.

Good wishes, prayers, visualizations, crossed fingers, etc. are hereby shamelessly requested.

12 thoughts on “The Scan.

  1. am sending double doses of all!!! And I suggest you ingest extra ice cream/frozen yogurt this weekend to help… 😉

  2. So many good wishes, mad crazy fabulous juju, incantations, and positive vibes are headed your way. I’ve even got some xoxoxo for you.

  3. All sorts of good karma will be coming your way from me and everyone else. I don’t think I hesitate in saying that we all want nothing but the best for you.

    Hugs to you both,

  4. Just because you can imagine dubious and worse results, doesn’t mean you must, repeatedly, of course. Assume instead that the scan will show nothing and prepare for a modest pro tem celebration while the anxieties scurry toward the next scan. Friends and family are cashing in whatever credits they have on the books of the Universe for credit to your account.

  5. Indeed, we will engage in quasi pagan rituals of candle lighting and meditation/prayer/incantations on your behalf. May the radiation of the scan be friendly to you and give you the results you hope for.

  6. I have already scolded the universe and told it that you are no longer allowed to be sick! Enough is enough! So you are fine, no need to worry. Next.
    Nothing but prayers and love your way!

  7. I will send healing light your way. I’ve heard white, gold and blue are the best healing colors. Thinking of you tons and hope you can continue to distract yourself from distressing thoughts.

  8. Hey, Paul — greetings from the right coast. Sending you many warm and healing thoughts. Kathy

  9. Very best wishes for a positive outcome on the scan, and for enough distractions for the weekend!

  10. I’m sending oodles of love and good wishes, and all of my fingers are crossed for good news tomorrow. If you’re looking for more distractions, here are a few links that you might enjoy: (and wimp has other fun video) — the images themselves are fun, but it’s the captions that really bring out the humor for me, and there are some additional images in the links
    I also like Shaun the Sheep for lighthearted entertainment, from the same animation studio as Wallace and Gromit; here are a few segments, and a video search will pull up others:

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