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I had a scan last Thursday. Scan days are always a little crazy. I don’t sleep well the night before. I don’t get breakfast. I have to drink the berry smoothie contrast yuck. I get stuck for a port access for the dye. I get to lie on a hard table with my arms over my head, intermittently holding my breath. Then I get to wait for results. I got exactly what I expected on this one - continued progression of all lesions at about the same rate as while I was on treatment. Which means, yes, that nothing they’ve given me since last August has done diddly squat to even slow this thing down. All those lovely side effects for nothing.

The real insanity of this scan day came at 10:30 a.m. with a call from my oncologist, who had just gotten a call from the reading radiologist. The neck pain that has been getting gradually worse over the last couple of weeks is from the same lesion in the C5 vertebra that was radiated in December. It’s bigger and is now encroaching on the spinal canal and has consumed about 50 percent of the vertebral body. So both of them were worried that I’m going to sneeze and become a quadriplegic and they think something should be done right this very minute. Well, hold on, guys and gals. The scan was done Thursday because that’s the day that worked in my schedule.

We added the cervical spine to the usual chest, abdomen and pelvis because my neck’s been hurting me more. But I was no different Thursday than I was on Wednesday, and we didn’t have to talk to the surgeon RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE on Wednesday. Ugh. I met with the spine surgeon yesterday and he’s confident that the structural stability of my spine is fine. The tumor is growing, is causing more pain and is threatening my vertebral artery (probably not a huge deal, but you never know). If it continues to grow it could (and probably would) threaten the nerve root exiting at that level and, eventually, my spinal cord. So all are in agreement that something should be done about it. Choices are real surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery.

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Thank you so much for writing. I love your style and I am in awe at how you can write frankly and stay in the moment when dealing with such things as lesions creeping closer to your spine and serious pain management.

Please, the next time I whine about anything stupid -- the next time i don't want to exercise because it's hot or I'm lazy, the next time I don't eat healthful food because I'd rather eat crap, the next time I pout about a few pounds I need to lose, or that it's a bad hair day, or that I'm behind paying the bills, or that I need to answer my email, or WHATEVER, please feel free to come hit me in the head with a baseball bat and get me back to realizing what really matters.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

June 25, 2009 - 8:31am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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