Wednesday, May 16, 2012

We are only given today and never promised tomorrow...

Never Promised Tomorrow

I've been trying to figure out a good way to start this off; and the right words have escaped me.  I saw the graphic above on someone's post and I thought it might be a good message to start with.

I got the results of my PET scan from last Friday and it's bad news. Really bad news. I have metastatic breast cancer, Stage IV if you will. Here are a couple of excerpts from the formal report:

Neck: A few subcentimeter hypermetabolic left supraclavicular region lymph nodes are seen, new from the prior exam.

Abdomen/pelvis: There are a few small ill-defined foci of increased activity seen along the inferior edge of the left lobe of the liver not seen on the prior exam. It is not clear if these relate to activity from adjacent bowel or relate to small/early liver lesions.

Chest: There has interval appearance of several bilateral pulmonary nodules demonstrating metabolic activity, consistent with metastases. The largest is seen inferiorly in the left lower lobe measuring a centimeter in size. There has been interval appearance of a 1.3 cm area of hypermetabolism in the posterior mediastinum compatible with a metastatic node. A new approximately 2 cm hypermetabolic lymph node is seen in the high deep left axillary region.

IMPRESSION: Interval appearance of pulmonary and nodal (axillary, supraclavicular and mediastinal) metastatic disease. Some activity is seen along the inferior edge of the left lobe of the liver and it is difficult to discern whether this relates to early/small liver metastases or adjacent bowel activity though bowel activity is felt to be more likely.  

I have an appointment this Friday with Dr. Wendy Chen at Dana Farber.  She is the first DF oncologist I met with a year ago.  My local oncologist said that Dr. Chen will probably recommend a course of chemo using platinum drugs, which have been shown to be more effective against triple negative breast cancer.  We will also explore clinical trials.  I have seen a couple that appear to be worth considering. 

Some of you know that we are planning a trip to Paris, leaving a week from Friday (5/25).  The trip is on regardless... I feel fine, I'm hopefully getting my knees injected with steroids on Monday so I can walk pain-free, and we'll be pushing Allison around in a wheelchair, which will force us to take our time, take it all in, and make some beautiful memories. 

Speaking of Allison and a wheelchair, here's the story...she fell last Saturday while we were walking from her graduation ceremony to a reception in a park two blocks away.  She had on sensible shoes but hit some uneven pavement, her left ankle rolled, and her right knee took the full force of her fall.  It's a clean fracture of her kneecap, but debilitating nonetheless.  She is using an immobilizer and crutches and learning more than she ever wanted to know about handicap accessibility.  I am staying with her during the day to make things a little easier.  And fortunately she is able to work from home, so things are OK. 

So getting back to my situation, I'm prepared for another round in my war against this nasty beast called breast cancer.  Two years ago I didn't think I had it in me to take what comes with treatment, but I've learned a lot about myself, my own strength, and the strength that comes from loving family and friends. 


  1. I am thinking of you and praying for you...I hope you have a wonderful time in Paris. You totally deserve it.

  2. Hav a blast with the girls!!!

  3. I'm so sorry Michelle, you are consistently in my prayers! Love ya!

  4. Michelle- you are SO in my thoughts and prayers!

    Lori E.