Once again, just around the corner on Thursday, is my next PET scan. These things seem to come around sooner and sooner every time, but no, they're only every three months. Only.
I think the interval between PET scans seems shorter now because I have my health. I am no longer measuring my life by the next PET scan. It's hard to believe that there ever was a time when I measured my life by the next PET scan, but there was and I did. I remember thinking that the next PET scan would mark the end of chemotherapy, or the end of radiation, or the end of herceptin treatments. Now it's a disconnected PET scan among research publications, folding laundry, and putting together princess puzzles. It seems unrelated to life as I know it, and it reminds me of the life that I don't want to know again.
There's something to be said for, "What you don't know won't hurt you." Don't get me wrong, I'm a proponent of Knowledge is Power, and obviously unknown cancer cells in your body are exactly what WILL hurt you. But regarding the emotional side of coping with cancer, it certainly seems easier to not know about it. Knowing about it means that there will be long periods of dread and pain. PET scans are near the epicenter of that dread.
The PET scan itself is relatively painless (4-hour fast, 2 pokes, 1 hour rest, 0.25 hour scan), but the dread of the results is formidable. Questions of, "Do I have cancer", "Has the cancer spread?", and "Has the cancer come back?" plague the mind until the moment in which the doctor at last pours over the lengthy results with you. And even with good news the relief is not complete, at least not for me, the girl who has never scanned clean. First it was the inflammatory breast cancer, then it was my T9 vertebral body (didn't turn out to be cancer, thankfully, but the dread between the PET scan and the biopsy was unspeakable), and two consecutive scans with tiny nodes on my lungs (too small to biopsy, yay?). So I rejoice in a mediocre sort of way and try to forget about the decent but not good news until the next PET scan. Which is upon us.
Lung nodes, you've got to go away. I appreciate that you don't get any bigger, but you inhibit my ability to release my inhibitions. Let's end this relationship, shall we? Out, damn'd spots!