The report from my bone scan made it's way to me last week by way of a casual conversation with my primary care doc who called to see how I was feeling. While we talked she said she'd heard from the oncologist I saw once and abandoned.
That's about the last of the good news for now.
Turns out that two area of bone are either deteriorating (some of that could be age) or the breast cancer has metastasized and started growing in one or both areas. That sounds like a bad news / worse news option. For some reason the bone has some areas significant enough to warrant concern.
It doesn't come as a shock so much as it's a blow that I hoped to avoid for awhile. Invasive lobular breast cancer isn't known for staying put but I'd hoped I could finish reconstruction, try to get some help with the overwhelming exhaustion, and work with the Frozen Pea Fund on increasing knowledge about cancer and funding some worthwhile projects for a few years before tackling my next round of questionable news.
On the other hand it explains the pain in both chest and lower back that I've been blaming on chest wall expansion and a back injury from my teen years.
Unfortunately I'm stuck not knowing more until I can get an MRI. That can't happen until the chest wall expanders come out. They contain metal and that's a no-no for going through the MRI machine unless I want to chance them being magnetized right through my chest wall. No one wants blood on the MRI machine apparently.
So when my second surgery is done, expanders out, new boob built, I'll see how quickly I can finagle a spot in the MRI tube so we can perhaps find out what's happening in the bones.
My next appointment with Doctor Chang at George Washington is on Friday to discuss surgery he thought should be the first week in June after the current expansion has time to rest a bit. I'm going to try to jar him lose from that estimate and hope to move it up at least a week - maybe more. I'd like to be able to get going on diagnostics.
In the meantime I'm reading up on treatment for breast cancer that has moved to bones. My reading reinforces what my understanding that it does not then become bone cancer, but in fact remains cancerous breast cells but moved on to a new host and growing in bone, taking over where bone cells should be.
Sometimes we need a shove to get us - OK me at least - to move off Start to Action.
So while I'm at it, getting a clear diagnosis is also time to think about stabilizing the bones in my lower back. Whether it's because of cancer or deterioration its a lot more painful to stand in the past couple of years. And something there has to get fixed no matter the cause.
The injury in my teens means that issue is something I've been dealing with for about forty years but the pain and immobility has been increasing in the past seven or eight and severely limiting in the last two or three.
I'm taking it pretty well. Not sure how the family is except in waiting mode. If you weren't along on Gone Nuclear - Full Body Bone Scan Day you can go back in time via this video, or check some of the links to learn more about various topics. being informed is not a bad thing.
- Metastatic Cancer: Q&A - National Cancer Institute
- Merck Manual - Everything You Need To Know About Cancer -
this has wonderful detail but is a very layman friendly guide
and if you're still reading after that, delve into interesting possibilities
- Scientists Investigate Treatments for Breast Cancer That Has Spread to the Bone
- Sloan-Kettering - Molecules Can Block Breast Cancer's Ability to Spread to Lungs and Bone