My every-3-month-scans were done about 10 days ago, along with a regular brain MRI. I'm sorry that I'm not more prompt about posting results, but since then, I feel like I've been running a marathon. J and I just went through the first week of school...and, well, I'll talk about that in a minute.
I always get nervous when meeting with Dr. G to get the scan results, but that's not to say that I feel hopeless. Never. I know that whatever the news is, there will be a plan of action. I love that Lindsey comes with me as moral support & interpreter when my head is spinning from medical lingo overload. I love that baby Will steals the show and everyone wants to kiss & snuggle him & smile at his cute face. I also love that there is no small talk or beating around the bush when Dr. G or nurse Carolyn come through the door. Straight away, Carolyn said, "We don't have the results from the MRI yet, but your scans look wonderful, perfect. Now, let's take a look at them." We are immediately relieved of the worry & stress and looking at those weird skeleton/mass scans becomes intriguing. I love seeing the changes between the latest scans and the earlier ones, how little dark blobs have entirely disappeared or shrunk to pin pricks on the screen. I love that I have access to everything, even the medical jargon I need a dictionary to understand. I love taking printed pages out of the office to read and study and compare on my own. Dr. G comes in & basically goes over everything again, including my lab work, which still shows that I'm very low on iron and other good blood nutrients. But besides that, he has good news for us: 1) I have "graduated" to a 4-month scan schedule, which means I don't go back for scans until December!, 2) the experimental drug, PD-1, which I tried to get through the trial/study, has been approved by the FDA and would be available to me...if I needed it, which I gratefully do not at this point. Dr. G said it is a "miracle drug" with dramatic results for melanoma and that he couldn't be more pleased to see his hard work in research bear fruit. Once again, I have to say that of all the times to have melanoma cancer, this is the best time. He told Lindsey and I that in December, I will be at the 1-year mark since going through the IPI treatments successfully; if there is no significant recurrence at the 2-year mark, there is a high percentage I will make it to five years; and after that, there is a 93% chance (is that the right number, Lindsey? I just remember I was astonished & amazed) that I'll make it to TEN years!! Linds said, "We've never heard those numbers before!" It was truly good news! And, 3) to help with my blood counts, Dr. G recommended a cycle of blood transfusions (3 rounds) and a cycle of IV iron transfusions (again, 3 rounds). He wanted these to start right away, so I actually had my first blood transfusion yesterday morning. I feel a bit more energized today, so I'm optimistic. There are a couple more tiny issues to deal with, but Dr. G is "not worried", so I'm trying not to be either. Will be updating as I learn more.
Now, for the beginning of school: I'm so thankful that my scans were done so I could focus more on my girl. It's hard for all of us to believe she's a senior and that this is her last year of high school. I'm very proud of her for becoming more social and for standing up for herself in hard situations. She has also become more comfortable and confident with her true self. She's had to sacrifice quite a lot this past summer with our financial situation and I know my cancer is hard to live with, for all of us. I love her very much. My sweet grandchildren also started school - one 6th grader and two 2nd graders (plus two preschoolers!). Love them with all my heart!