It all began in mid January when I noticed a funny crinkling sound in my lungs when I lay down on my right side or my back. This didn't get better, and in fact became so pronounced that it was keeping me awake, so I made an appointment to see my doctor. She knew that I was not a whiner and ordered a chest xray, which showed clear lungs, but a pocket of liquid under the right lobe of my lung. She sent me for an ultrasound that showed liquid in the abdomen as well, and I began to be aware of feeling bloated to the point of not being able to sleep. Next she ordered a CT scan and a thoracentesis (thoracic puncture) and paracentesis (abdominal puncture). The CT scan showed a scattering of suspicious looking cells on "critical organs," and the fluid that was drawn off (2 litres from the right side of my chest and 800 ccs from the abdomen) was analyzed and showed the presence of adenocarcinoma cells that are generally indicative of gynecological or peritoneal cancers. I heard this last Wednesday (Feb 24, 2010). Our daughter Miriam arrived on Friday evening from Montreal to stay for two weeks and has been wonderful at keeping a cool head and distracting us from morbid thoughts.
After a couple of days of thinking that I would have to wait for two weeks to even get an appointment with an oncologist (my GP was hitting a brick wall), Miriam and JP wrote to a few of our friends/ex students/ old neighbours who were doctors, and we got immediate response (like one minute after sending the email) from doctor friends in a Minneapolis teaching hospital, who contacted the doctor that we were trying to see at Princess Margaret Hospital - this was on Saturday. On Monday morning I got a call to say that I had an appointment for Tuesday (March 2). I had some blood work done, and will be going back in on Monday to discuss the results from tests that they are doing to decide if we can go ahead with my first chemo session on Wednesday (March 10). The rhythm will be chemo every three weeks for three sessions with blood tests and analysis between every session. There should be positive results by the end of the second session (as well as hair loss).
I am feeling positive for short term results, but have been told that the cancer will most likely return in a matter of years, so the long term prognosis is not fantastic. Still, I will take whatever I am given, and hope that I will be one of the unexplained miracles of modern science.
I am a bit sore from having to sleep in the lazy boy chair because the fluid buildup means that I cannot lie down to sleep because of pressure on my lungs. Hopefully that will disappear with the first chemo, and that will mean that the cancer is being attacked.