on clarity

I always go into these “big” appointments thinking that finally, once and for all, everything will be clear. That there’s just one scan and one appointment in between me and the whole truth about my illness. That the doctor will know all of the answers. That everything will be defined. That he will tell me what to eat, how much to exercise, and what I can do to make the cancer go away. That I will have a set-in-stone treatment plan. That all of my questions will be answered.

Right? That’s what used to happen when I went to the doctor for something. He or she would look at or ask me questions about the problem, give me a prescription, and the problem would go away.

I always forget that’s it’s not quite that easy or predictable with cancer, that after a “big” appointment I often have more questions than I did coming in. There’s always some new blood level or some new cell that I’ve never heard of that’s in crisis for a brief time, and then it passes. In the past it’s been granulocytes, bilirubin, the lymph nodes near my right armpit, micro-nodules in my lungs, and a bile duct in my liver. Invisible things that cause a load of trouble.

So today it’s the soft tissue in my right pelvis near my ovary. A place NETs have never been known to spread to, especially NETs that are shrinking as quickly as mine (thanks, chemo drugs). For whatever reason, there’s a little spot there that took up a lot of the radioactive sugar that was injected before the scan. For whatever reason, it took it took all of the joy (though I wouldn’t call it joy) out of what was otherwise a perfectly respectable scan. One that showed shrinking and decreased sugar uptake pretty much all around. I thought of four possible scenarios for the scan last week that didn’t make it into the final draft of my post–shrinkage was the best-possible scenario. It doesn’t make any sense that the tumors would shrink and spread. That defies reason. Nevertheless, I have an ultrasound on Friday. And an appointment on Monday. And a feeling that even though I was hoping cancer would interfere very little with my schooling this year…that it will.

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