Thursday, 26 November 2009

Here we go.....

Tuesday was a good day, bringing the very best of news: the cancer hasn't spread. It is adenocarcinoma, non small cell lung cancer in its early stages. I met with my specialist cancer nurse, Michael (who is amazing), and the surgeon, Mr Jordan, who is also amazing. After reviewing my PET scan, the surgeon was keen to offer surgery and stressed that this was good, as not everyone is suitable. He told me how it would be: 2 chest drains, central line, catheter, cannulas and an epidural morphine pump; painful, exhausting and hard to breathe. That was on top of the 10% mortality risk. The colour drained from my face and I locked eyes with Jimmy as we both felt horror at what would come if I chose surgery. But the decision was not yet made as he wanted the radiologists to see my scan first, because there was an alternative, and then he would call me on Thursday for my answer.

The alternative was radio frequency ablation (RAF); a much 'simpler' procedure of inserting a needle directly into the tumour and blasting the cancerous cells, plus some extra around the outside, to make sure. A walk in the park, by comparison. But there isn't really that much information about the long-term prognosis with this radical treatment. It sounds almost too good to be true but I do know it has worked, it's just whether it would work for me. Could I risk it? Would it work or leave me vulnerable to the cancer returning and spreading to other parts of my body?

We drove ourselves mad on Wednesday; talking, researching, saying "what if", until we were blue in the face. At bed-time we fell into bed, mentally exhausted, and still hadn't reached a decision, but we slept the deepest sleep since my diagnosis. When Jimmy brought me my morning cup of tea, he sat next to me with such sadness in his eyes and told me that he loved me. He told me he was scared I might die on the table. He told me he was scared that RFA wouldn't work. And he told me that he couldn't help me make the decision because it was happening to my body and he didn't want to see me suffer from an operation when the RFA might possibly work, but that he was scared the RFA wouldn't work and then it might be too late. I hugged him close and said "I know" and we cried.

Mum rang to tell me she loved me and the text messages started to stream in from my friends. No-one wanting to say "go for surgery" because they knew what it would involve and that it would be me, not them, having to do it. I made up my mind and changed it at least 8 times before I got dressed. And then there were my friends on Purplecoo - offering their usual strength and support, along with some sound non-biased advice.

We agreed to wait and see what the phone call would bring, and prayed the decision would be taken out of my hands. My prayers were answered for the second time this week: the first when I prayed it had not spread and this time when the surgeon rang to tell me that the radiologist felt surgery was a better option for me. He felt that RFA could be a "fall back" treatment for the future but should not be my primary treatment, as there was a "better" solution. Good enough for me, thank you.

My surgeon sounded relieved when I said that I was happy to go ahead. He laughed when I told him not to let me down, and promised that he would not. He's one of the best, I know, and I have to let him do his job - not easy for bossy old me, who likes to organise everything!

Before I knew it, my nurse was back on the phone with a date - 4th December. A week tomorrow. This will either be the longest or shortest week of my life, as I get myself ready for what lies ahead. I'll let you know what it was when I come home................. xx

9 comments:

Elizabethd said...

So good to read your update.Nothing anyone says will make a difference,none of us can know the feelings of another, but just know that you have immense support from many.
You are on my prayer list.

bradan said...

Don't know where you get your courage and strength from Woozle, you're amazing! You are on my prayer list too. xx

LittleBrownDog said...

Oh Carmen - thank you for taking the trouble to share this update, with all you're going through. It does sound as though you're in capable hands. Have faith. You sound so positive and brave, yet I know how scary this must all be. Will be thinking of you. xxx

pinkfairygran said...

Your relief at having a difficult decision taken out of your hands was so obvious, a sigh was released as I read it! I KNOW how hard it is to make a decision like that, to have surgery or not, and really, although friends and family can offer their opinions, in the end, it is your body, your decision, but the alternatives and the options all race around chasing each other in your mind so that there comes a point when you can no longer make sense of any of it and just pray someone will make the choice, the decision for you. I am so pleased this happened for you too. I send you all the very best, you will be in so many people's thoughts on the 4th I know. And even though I don't know you, you will be in mine too. With love and healing wishes...xx

Fennie said...

I think we are almost the same tenterhooks - waiting to hear that all is well. You are so brave, so so brave. Good luck, dear Carmen. Everything crossed for you on the auspicious 4th of December.

Pondside said...

If wishes could fly across the ocean mine would be right there, big strong ones for all the very best results on Friday. Blowing those wishes your way..............

rachel said...

Warmest best wishes that all will go well - for all of you - that you will stay as brave and strong as you have been all along, and that you will be back soon to tell us how you are recovering. We already know how amazing and inspirational you are.

prettyshabby said...

Hello Carmen, sorry to hear the news on your last post, but the better news on this one, that it at least hasn't spread.I hope you can be positive and keep strong through this scary time.
I hope all goes well on the 4th for you, stay brave lovely lady.

xx strength courage happiness xx

Bluestocking Mum said...

I've missed your blogs because of course I've been speaking to you personally - didn't realise you were doing them. I've had my christmas dinner and am about to open my presents but I keep thinking about you. And somehow I've found myself drawn to your blog.

All I want this year is for you to get better.

Come on girl. Wishing you well.
xx