Yesterday I got the results of my PET scan. I haven't seen the review of the results from Dr. Jaiyesimi (my oncologist) yet, but the numbers are a mixed bag. The tumor on my liver is showing more than double the amount of metabolism, and the tumors on my lungs and adrenal glands have some increased metabolism as well. We're thinking that I'll likely be going in for a CT scan to see if things are indeed growing or if they're just hungry boys. But, as Dr. Jaiyesimi is fond of saying, he treats the patient not the numbers. So I'm not letting that worry me.
The one thing that was curious though is that the rectal tumor is showing as benign. That was an interesting development. I'm not sure if that means the next steps are resection or what but I'll take benign any day of the week.
I decided yesterday to do some exercise by playing drums. Banging on things with no repercussions (pun not intended) is always a great stress reliever. Then, for some reason, I picked up a toy Darth Vader lightsaber that we'd gotten from Dave and Busters. I took it and went over to a box in the basement and swung it as hard as I could into the box. I'm not sure what I was expecting but predictably it shattered like a dinner plate. So strong was the force that the tip of it embedded itself into the box (it must've flipped because I wasn't even thrusting at the box. I'm sure a ballistics expert could explain what happened but for now I'm kinda impressed with myself). I spent the next few moments picking little red pieces of lightsaber off the floor.
This reminded me of the other time that I broke a plastic sword. That time was just waving around a plastic sword that had become brittle. This time it was using a lightsaber as some sort of frustration relief on an unsuspecting box. Each time they broke and I had to clean up the pieces. Breaking the plastic sword for me was a metaphor of all of the brittle commitments I'd made to myself. I'm not sure if there's a convenient metaphor for the lightsaber, save for I need to exercise more because playing the drums felt good. I might need to do more walking at some point (though with the smoke flowing over Michigan that might need to be basement walks. Whatever. Walking of some form needs to occur).
I'm not taking the results of the PET scan as either good or bad. It's a report-card. It's showing where we're at with this disease.
I've also come up with a better metaphor for me about cancer. Folks liken it to a battle where cancer is something to be attacked and destroyed with no mercy. I don't particularly care for that metaphor. Cancer is a part of you. It's cells that had their genetic makeup altered to where they've gone rogue. You're basically fighting yourself. I'd prefer to think of it as debugging a system. We scan for the bits of code that aren't quite right and try to fix them as best we can and repair the damage whenever possible. That system is me. I'm enlisting all of the folks at Cancer Care Associates and Beaumont (nee Corewell Health. Bleh. That name is terrible.) to help me debug my software and keep the system intact as much as possible. Like any system some fixes will work better than others, and sometimes they won't work at all. So we monitor, adjust, and keep trying different approaches to see what works and what needs further help. It's a process that's going to take time. Under the battle motif there's an expectation that we can reason with the enemy and eventually sign a peace treaty. Under the debugging motif we constantly monitor the system and find out what needs to be address.
So yeah, these results are just jumping into the debugger to see what we can do to fix the system. It's neither good or bad or what-have you; it's just taking an assessment of where we are and reconfiguring how to keep the system functional.
Anywho, more as I know it. Hopefully that's the last sword that needs to break for me to have a few epiphanies along the way.