…and the answer is…

My scans were unchanged from August. No new growth was detected and my tumor marker level is still in single digits. All in all, it was a good (and welcomed) report.

The doctor today talked with us about how, because there were positive margins left after my surgery (that is, there was some tumor material on my mesenteric artery that could not be removed), that they had been looking at me closely. She said that, if they do, they typically see new tumor growth in the first 2-4 months after treatment ends. I stopped treatment in March, so we are well past that threshold.

I still maintain that I hope that I’ll be able to relax more about these scans after next August. Most recurrence of PC after surgery (that is, after successful surgery without positive margins) occurs around 18-24 months. I think when I make it August, 2010, it’ll be time for TumorPalooza II. :-) Start planning now.

Thank you for all the encouragement, well wishes, thoughts, prayers, positive energy, karma, and cookies!

Regards,

Merle

Today’s the day

Just a quick note to let you know that I will post the results I receive at the doctor as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, my day today is chocked full of meetings and appointments, so it may be later this afternoon before I post.

The last several weeks have been particularly busy with me. I’ve traveled for work several times already (and have more coming up) and several projects that require different levels of my attention. All of this to say that I haven’t had time to be concerned about the results.

Okay, everyone, on the count of three, send happy thoughts — One….Two…Three!

(Thanks)

Merle

Last Lecture

I believe that I have mentioned here previously that my 14-year old son has Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism).  His developmental delays are manifested as social and emotional delays; he is very bright, but his social skills are closer to those of an 8-year old.  His emotional delays are both a blessing and a curse.  It is a blessing in that he is often unaware of how other people are responding to him.  Sure he notices the blatant teasing, but the more subtle stuff, I think, just goes right past him.  It is a curse, though, in that I do not have a really strong emotional bond with my older son; not for lack of trying, but because it’s hard for him to connect with folks emotionally.

This fact was hit home last week.  One night, I happened to glance at a paper he was writing for homework.  It started out something along the lines of, “I think the Last Leture was a good book…”  Apparently, they had been reading the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch in his class over the past couple of weeks. 

Now intellectually, my son knows that I have pancreatic cancer and he also knows that Randy Pausch died from PC.  I do not know if he has made the connection between those two realities.  Moreover, I offered to give him my insight, if for no other reason, to discuss how Randy Pausch had inspired me to write this blog and work to help raise awareness about pancreatic cancer.  He just was not interested.  I’m a little sad that he would not want to take advantage of this opportunity for us to bond.

However, I am able to take a step back and recognize that he is behaving completely consistently with who he is.   It’s all about adjusting expectations.  Perhaps he will be interested in talking about this at a later date.  Until then, we’ll just keep on keeping on!

Merle

Here we go again

You know the good thing about being so busy with work and life is that I have not had time to get stressed about my scans tomorrow.  Actually, I don’t know if the lack of stress is attributable to my distraction by other things or simply that I have come to grips with the reality of my needing these regular checkups?

Having said all that, I fully expect my stress-o-meter to be in full swing next Tuesday when I get the results.  I am not experiencing any symptoms at the moment, so there is no reason to believe the results would indicate anything other than my continuing to have no measurable cancer in my system.  As I have mentioned here previously, however, I tend to be something of a pessimist and there is a part of me that continues to be concerned that something WILL show up. 

I’ve been told by several sources that it does me no good to continue to acknowledge the chances that the cancer may come back.  I mean, every time someone asks me how I am feeling, and generally it’s the case that I am feeling fine.  However, I often wish that I did not feel compelled to quality my answer with some indication that pancreatic cancer is largely asymptomatic and that there may be something going on inside me that I just haven’t felt / learned about yet.  Typically, I will say something like, “I feel fine, but we’ll see what my next scans say.”

Anywho, I will be sure to post any news about my results as quickly as possible.  Just as a reminder, I have my scans tomorrow, but I will not know anything until the following Tuesday (10/27).  Unlike shows like, “House”, the doctors at Emory do not give you the results of your tests within 15 minutes.

On a more personal note, I remain humbled at the number of people who continue to check in on my blog.  It makes me feel good when I see people with whom I have not spoken in a while (Anna H., Kathy P., Shawn L., David M.), and they already know about my scans coming up and they wish me luck.  Thank you for your continued support and caring.

Cheers,

Merle

BUSY…But okay!

Just a quick update to let you all know that I am alive () and well. September was pretty hectic at work getting a contract out the door, but we prevailed and got it done at the last minute. I’m hoping that October is a little more calm (though, with some travel I have coming up, I’m not sure that will be the case). MaryBeth will be joining me on one of my trips and I am very much looking forward to having some time alone together. Thank you, in advance, to her mother for coming down to watch the kids.

I love how the weather has cooled off down here. I have been walking around thinking that this is perfect camping weather. If only I had a free weekend to actually GO camping. In fact, my very good friend, Luis, suggested that we both take some time off from work and go camping somewhere (of course, time off from work notwithstanding, there is the fact that much of our week is programmed with scouts, Karate, Church, or doctors appointments; which doesn’t leave much time for camping).

Heath wise, I am feeling okay. My next set of scans is scheduled for October 20, so the stress level should be starting to go up again in the next week or two.

Until next time…

Merle