It's not cancer....(most likely). But what is it?
So....deep breath..... G's oncologist called today. Said they found a "spot" on her spine from Monday's scans. Not sure what it is but they are talking about a rescan in 3 months.
I was on my way to work and received a call from the hospital. Seeing LPCH on my caller ID was nothing unusual since I was expecting a call from one of the foundation directors. But we normally haven't received a call about G's scans a few days after unless to schedule the next appointment. She wasn't feeling well the day of scans and running a small fever but had turned around after a rest day the following day.
After Dr. Aftandilian and I talked shortly about how G was feeling, she told me that they found something on the scan. A "spot" on L5 in the vertebral body. Looking back, it was there 6 months ago on the last scan (and possibly there a year ago) but it wasn't remarkable at that time. Now, its a 7mm spot that is not deniable on her MRI.
The panic didn't and set in until I called my manager and told her the call I had received. I couldn't help but let the tears roll down my face and not deny that I was scared. I am scared. We knew the next step was to meet our doctors in person to discuss options, possibilities and a plan of action. Luckily we were able to arrange that today.
So here's the good news:
We (they) don't believe it's cancer for the many reasons that we discussed at our meeting today.
-It's not the typical pattern of a reoccurrence.
-It's not common for rhabdo to recur in the spine.
-There were no other questionable spots found in anywhere on her MRI or on her chest X-ray.
-The borders of this thing..."lesion"...is circumscribed meaning it is not abnormal (as a malignant tumor would be) and is round in appearance.
-It was not in the area (or field) where she had her radiation meaning it is not likely a secondary cancer from her initial radiation therapy.
-She has no signs or symptoms of pain and very little problems in this area.
And here's the uneasy news:
-A biopsy in this area is very invasive and not easy since it is in the vertebral body (google it and you will see what I mean). They doctors would have to go in from the from the front of the abdomen to biopsy it if that's what needs to happen.
-We don't know what it could be
-It's something on her spine and anything on her spine is very suspect for further (agonizing) evaluation.
-Unfortunately we need to wait 3 months so we can evaluate the speed of growth and analyze if this is something that will impede on her spinal cord...and what we need to do to fix it.
-We will repeat an MRI of the spine at about 3 months and will perform further testing as indicated at that time.
-Whatever this "lesion" is, it has slowly but surely grown. If it grows further, there are probably surgical procedures we need to consider in order for the spinal cord not to be harmed and normal function to continue.
We discussed the possibility of another MRI, a PET MRI, a regular CT, a PET CT, and possibilities of a biopsy. The goal is to do the least amount of harm that we can possibly do but serve our due diligence in figuring out the seriousness of this "white blob".
Here is the picture of the MRI from Monday. My finger is pointing at the white spot in the L5 vertebral body on her spine.
I could hardly breathe today. I want to believe that it's not cancer. I want to believe that with all my heart. And we were pretty assured that it's not. But as a cancer parent, you know all too well that you don't take ANYTHING for granted. Damn it, I'm thinking positive but I as sure as hell I don't want to be caught off guard again.
Just the other day, I was telling a close friend about the mint in our garden. It was a symbol to me. I had ripped it out one day during treatment because it represented G's cancer. I hated it. It was a weed. Ripping it out was therapeutic because as long as it stayed away, G's cancer would stay away too. Well, last month, the mint started growing again. Then scans were coming up. I'm not a superstition person but it affected me. So my friend came over with weed killer and champagne.
I am so thankful for the love, family, and friendships that has surrounded us through this journey. I am so thankful for the friendships that we have created and found and I know we will be ok. Gabriella will be ok.
For the next three months, we will be living life. Enjoying our vacation. Enjoying summer and all that comes from it. Enjoying planning our return to the girls school in August and starting at my school in September. We will be raising funds for pediatric cancer. And we will be doing our due diligence as cancer parents to our daughters...both of them.
Life from a cancer mom.