For five years, follow-up visits with the oncologist confirmed the success of my lung cancer surgery and the chemotherapy and radiation treatment that followed. But, then, a blood test (CEA, carcinoembryonic antigen) indicated a possible return of cancer. When a follow-up CT scan revealed undesirable physical changes that more strongly suggested recurrence of the disease, a PET-scan was ordered. The PET-scan showed several areas of likely recurrent/metastatic disease. Within the next several days, a biopsy of the left supraclavicular lymph node will be taken to confirm recurrence and to verify the recurrence is the same type of cancer treated five years before.

The treatment probably will include chemotherapy; if radiation therapy is used, it will be quite limited. Within two weeks, I should have a clearer idea of the recommended plan of treatment. My assumption is that the original cancer was an easier target because the one tumor was large and well-defined and, therefore, was an obvious candidate for surgery. The latest version is, I believe, more diffuse; not suitable for either radiation or surgery. Chemo and  immunotherapy apparently are the best options.

The follow-up CT scan that revealed the changes was originally scheduled more than a week ago, but I was knocked down by some kind of non-specific viral something-or-other that made me decide to postpone the scan. I probably should have gone ahead with it, anyway, but it’s a bit late to cry over spilt milk. Such is life. At any rate, planning for the treatment process has begun.

This morning, I skimmed several blog posts from the original cancer experience five years ago. I had forgotten just how draining the treatment process was. I suppose I’ll have generally the same kind of experience this time, except (I hope) for the misery of 30 radiation treatments. I have aged five years, of course, which means my body is five years older and weaker. With good fortune and some luck, I will survive this newest bout of cancer for another five years (I hope considerably more). The battle begins anew.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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6 Responses to Again

  1. JoAnn says:

    you have lots of friends supporting you on this journey. Prayers are with you.

  2. Hope says:

    Jim and I have an acronym we use for things that warrant it, with each letter standing for a profanity. SPFD. My thoughts are with you.

  3. Thank you all for your supportive comments.

  4. Druxha says:

    So sorry to hear this, John. Wishing you the best outcome, as your last. ♥️

  5. jodeoceanyahoocom says:

    Sending love and support as you courageously fight this battle. Know you have friends near and far who care deeply about you.

  6. Townsan Kim T says:

    You are a warrior…and have your personal battalion to support you. We are all here for you.

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