What a crazy month. On April 6th I had a second biopsy on my suspicious chest mass. This time the doctor who performed it had a "cytotechnologist" examine each core as she removed it to guarantee that there were viable cells. The results showed "NO MALIGNANT CELLS DETECTED." What ???!!!
I should have been jumping up and down with joy. I do not in anyway doubt the biopsy results -- it's just that this mass is huge -- and obviously, the biopsy was limited to a small area, although the area that was most concerning.
I had a visit with my oncologist who did a great job of helping me understand my situation. He felt the mass was due to inflammation, but made it clear that he did not eliminate the possibility of recurrence. He then discussed what would be next steps in either instance. If there is cancer, he said that it would require another surgery. To quote his notes:
". . . the only way to be 100% certain would be to resect the entire inflammatory mass, which would be a major undertaking, particularly in a patient who has a history of pulmonary emboli, cardiomyopathy, and some ongoing heart issues with congestive heart failure. . . . it would not be guaranteed to be a curative intervention and the majority of patients recur anyway . . . In Ms. Reed's case, she does have several comorbidities which I think would highly complicate the chances of successful treatment even if this was a proven recurrence."
Maybe it takes hearing it more than once, but I got it. There will be no additional surgery on the basis of findings so far. Also there will be no additional interventions required. I can live my life without wondering if I should "do more."
My Dad used to say that when he talked to his sister, she was either "dying or going on vacation." I love that line -- and it seems to fit me lately.
The day after the second biopsy, Bill and I went on vacation to the southwest, concentrating on the five national parks located in Utah. What a trip it was! The scenery was breathtaking. I recently saw this Snoopy cartoon that sums up my current situation.
I think I'll go try to ride my bike.