Monday, June 30, 2008

Ablation Follow Up News

Today was full of appointments. I had a CT (without contrast, which caused the staff at the CT place much consternation) at 11:00. I was supposed to be at Phlebotomy to have blood drawn at 12:00 and meet with the nurse practitioner at 12:30, but I ended up doing them the other way around. Then at 1:00 I met with the radiologist to discuss the results of the ablation. I was supposed to go meet the oncology nurse (aka chemo nurse) at 3:00, but we forgot...I will send an email.

Captain Adorable came along to all these appointments with Captain Obvious and I. He is such a sweet, good natured guy! He does become very unhappy when I walk out of the room (he stays in the waiting room with Captain Obvious), and by the time we got to the radiologist appointment he was definitely ready to go home. He fell asleep in the carseat before we even got out of the parking garage!

So, the news was not good. I interpreted it as bad news but Captain Obvious did not. The CT scan shows that there is not enough scarring around the ablation site. Or not enough progression in scarring or something...both Capt. Obvious and I have forgotten how it was phrased... The other tumor (in my upper right lobe) has not grown, so that is good news. It also has not shrunk, which is not surprising, as I have only been taking Tarceva for 2 weeks. The radiologist said that we might have to do another ablation in 3 months (I think 3 months from the original ablation) on the tumor in my left lung if it does not show what he wants to see. I mean, yes, the ablation was not bad as invasive procedures go, but dang, I do not want to do it again and again and again. (This may seem unimportant, but I can just imagine the insertion point scars that will dot my chest. Blech.)

My Tarceva rash is worst on my neck right now. It is rather painful with a lot of burning. My face is developing big red pimples and white heads (look like acne). I just keep washing and slathering on the lotion. I also have the rash on my chest, fingers, right hand and arm, and my legs (unusual to have it below the waist). Fortunately, for the most part it is just unattractive, not painful. I got a prescription today for hydrocortizone cream that I hope will help my neck. The nurse practitioner told me that I must go see an ophthalmologist because my eyes are also being affected by Tarceva. I think I have written before that my vision is blurry and my eyes almost constantly tear. They also, every now and then, start to prick and burn intensely, and I get tears on my cheeks. This side effect may actually cause my Tarceva dose to be lowered. We will see.

I bought 2 big ol'hats today. One of them is "an island" according to Captain Obvious (I got it in black and white). The brim is so wide that it covers my shoulders! the other one is also wide-brimmed but not quite as big. I bought these hats because I have to wear a hat outside, since I cannot put sunscreen on my face and I have to wear sunscreen or the rash will get worse. However I got the big hat because we are going to Hawaii for 2+ weeks in (late Aug to early Sept) and I cannot stop taking Tarceva for that trip, so I need a super super hat to protect my face/neck/shoulders/decolletage from the sun and I think the one I bought will be just the thing. Plus it will come in handy if I ever go to the pool again at the gym. :D

One more thing: because I put so much emollient on my face and neck, it gets in my hair and I look like a total dirty grease head. Oh well. I guess it is better to look like a rashy, pimply, dirty grease head than to die of cancer.

I am going to try to get some photos of my rash and perhaps of me in the giant hat for your viewing pleasure.

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