Saw the oncologist on the 5th, and I know about the same as before I saw him, with a tentative confirmation of what I already suspect. Something is pressing against the vein that feeds blood from my head back to my heart, slowing the return and causing a build up of pressure in my head if I lean forward, bend over, or exert myself otherwise. This should be taken care of with the installation of a stent, which I am awaiting an appointment for.
There is a small amount of fluid around my heart (pericardial effusion), and fairly advanced emphysema = which is hardly surprising after smoking for 56 years.
The requirement for me to have a stent installed is possibly caused by advances made by the largest tumor I had = or by a clot = or inflammation from the radiation treatments. The major tumor in my lung has been reduced by ½, the smaller tumors in my lymph nodes have disappeared, but the largest tumor in my lymph nodes may be aggressing already. That is all unclear, because they did not use the contrasting dye when they did the latest CT scan, as I had a reaction to either the dye, or the Advair I had been put on at the same time. My bet was on the Advair, the family doctor went with the dye. I think I was right, as I still had the reaction when I stopped taking steroids. They switched me from Advair to Symbicort, and no more reaction. Unfortunately, someone forgot to correlate the data, so they didn’t use the dye in the last CT scan.
Once the stent is installed, they will do another CT scan, with the dye, and give me steroids in case of a reaction. Since the only problems I am experiencing right now should be cleared up with the stent installation, there is no rush to get a look at what is going on inside = if it is the cancer aggressing, there isn’t much they can do, as I have already had all the radiation there that I can handle, and the location makes it inoperable. A little more time will just give them a better base to make estimates on, as to what is going to happen, and the time frame involved.
Regardless of the actual circumstances, I am optimistic. I have known from the start that there might not be the best of outcomes, despite the assurances of the oncologist.
I have already been blessed with a long and full life, and do not feel that things are going to end anytime soon. It would be nice to have some clear information about what is going on, and what to expect, but it really doesn’t make that much difference. They could tell me I have 40 years left, and I step in front of a bus the next day, or they could tell me it’s short time, and I go into complete remission. Neither way is going to very much change the way I face the world tomorrow. I do not look forward to things ending, but I have always tried to live so that I will have no regrets.
This is not a farewell posting by any means. It is notice that I am going to pull back from the world a bit, and do a few more personal things, put some of the gardening aside for now, and live a bit more in the now. The emphysema says that I am not going to be quite as quick off the gun, or last quite as long at what ever I am doing, and the calendar has been telling me I can’t pack as much as I used to, or as fast, but I will still do what I want to = just a little slower.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
This is still the way I look at things.
And the adventure continues.