Sunday, March 25, 2012
If the scan was clean, then whatever is making my tumor marker rise is too small to see by conventional methods, so no treatment is indicated now. I'll be subjected to "watchful waiting" for the foreseeable future to keep track of my numbers. The relief I feel at not needing treatment will be offset by my annoyance at having to go through all this hassle and expense only to end up with essentially no data.
If the scan showed one or two small spots, then the situation is slightly more complicated: I could go for treatment or I could stick with watchful waiting, perhaps tweaking my medication so my TSH is even more suppressed. I will feel some relief at knowing the current state of my disease progression. This will be offset by my anxiety over the sure knowledge that my cancer is back again, which in turn will/may be balanced by the fact that it took over 6 years to show up again. This particular see-saw doesn't stop there, though, because, you know, Dr. Clayman promised he got it all, and I believed him.
If the scan shows enough disease progression to require treatment, I will get the treatment, of course. It will most likely be surgery, unless it's in an inoperable place, which would be weird, and would then probably need some kind of external beam radiation. Ick. Sometimes I'm afraid that my undiagnosable headaches from a couple of years ago (which never went away, I just know how to manage them) are actually from metastases, but that's really unlikely.
Options 1 and 2 have me planning my summer vacation Tuesday evening. I'm looking forward to that. Option 3 is not exactly unthinkable, and it really does help that I've been through a neck dissection before, but I don't have any feeling about this one way or the other. I just don't know.
My general response to this situation is: I don't have time for this. Can't you see I'm working here? I'd like to continue to do that, OK? OK.