• Emily

I don't believe in the sun

Here's my pretty darn good post-PET scan update:

We weren't able to see my oncologist, unfortunately. My oncologist, I believe, went into early labor because she was already out on maternity leave (though this appointment was supposed to be BEFORE she was on maternity leave, so I hope all is well with that, I didn't feel comfortable asking). We did get to see a nurse practitioner, though. Two, actually! One who is new to the Cancer Center, and one who we've seen before (and she's a delight). They both confirmed that my PET scan results were "fantastic" but they didn't go into detail beyond that.

From what I can tell of the actual PET scan results, in September I had something like 8 or more possible metastatic melanoma tumors. From this PET scan, it refers to only 2 being "unchanged since September". I assume/hope this means that I've effectively fought off the majority of my tumors and am therefore almost completely clear. But, I guess, I'm not clear yet.

I am therefore not at No Evidence of Disease status, unfortunately. BUT this means my treatment is working as expected and is effective against my cancer.

Isaac had the foresight to ask if there was any sort of ballpark ETA for how much longer I'll be in treatment and the NP found some notes from my oncologist in December (before my Adrenal Insufficiency diagnosis) that say I will remain on Nivolumab "every 4 weeks until progression, unacceptable toxicity, or 2 years".

This means that as long as my cancer does not progress further and the treatment remains not too toxic, I will complete treatments a month shy of my 40th birthday.

It's a little bittersweet, right? Yes, it is amazing that my PET scan shows good results. I am thrilled that my doctors are pleased with the progress I've made. I'm incredibly relieved to have proof that the treatments are working!

But it's a little tough to hear, also. Because I'm feeling so good, I'm doing so much better these days. Folks occasionally ask me if I'm done with the whole cancer thing because I seem to be and, well, no I'm not. Not even close, apparently! I didn't realize that melanoma is such a long haul.

I'm really trying to show myself grace, I promise. I hold myself to way too high expectations, and I know that. This morning I was thinking to myself how slow I was running, never mind that I was going for a run three days after an infusion. I'm doing well, I'm exercising, I'm getting the check-ups I need. You can't rush these things (oh how I wish you could). I guess in addition to showing myself grace, I should also practice patience with myself, huh?

Oh, and as promised, here is a picture of my shorter hair (don't mind the expression, selfies aren't my forte):

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