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A  PET scan is where they inject you with radioactive glucose and look thru your entire body for increased metabolic activity.  It could be normal activity, or cancer or maybe an ear infection.  I don’t like looking at PET scans – the doctor scrolls thru me top to bottom in slices on the computer.  It feels invasive,  I can’t understand what I’m seeing.  I’m lighting up like a Christmas tree, but most of that is ‘normal’.  Whatever.

My PET scan came back showing lots of great nothings – cardiac tumor is so small it isn’t showing up, brain and bones are clear, lungs clear, lots of clear stuff. Especially happy about my bones exactly one year after nasty bone met removed – I could go on and on. It’s hard to know what’s going on in my body when I’m battling the daily aches and pains caused by my buddy Zelboraf.

Apparently there were a couple of spots lighting up near a kidney and the gallbladder, maybe lymph nodes. Are there any lymph nodes left there?  I thought Dr. Kelley removed them all 2 1/2 years ago.  I have a follow-up CT but I’m not too concerned.  It’s only a little more cancer probably.  This would freak out a lot of people, but for me I’m calling this one a win. I didn’t even want the details.  Let’s skip it for now and enjoy the good news.

In a couple of weeks I will be switching my treatment to that other new, super-expensive melanoma drug, Yervoy.   It’s totally different that the Zel – when it works, it trains your body to fight off the melanoma on its own.  Cool.  There are people who had it 5, 7 years ago who are cancer-free or their disease is stable.  It’s a series of 4 total infusions (IV), every 3 weeks.  The side effects scare me a little but Zelboraf hasn’t been a picnic.  I think my fingernails are detaching from the nail beds people.  Yuck.

Why would I switch?  Because Zelboraf will probably fail soon, or maybe it already has, and we will know this because I will have additional tumors and/or tumor growth.  I will end up with a more aggressive form of melanoma than I had and surgery will be my only option. You can only remove so much of a person.  Because of my heart tumor, there isn’t a clinical trial that will touch me.  I can always go back to the Zelboraf after the Yervoy if we think it would work.

I imagine some friends are worried about what they will wear to our upcoming 25th high school reunion.  Envy me – I’ve got a great little black dress, voluptuous new eyebrows, awesome wig, and spiderman band-aids on each fingernail? Maybe I will be Raptured soon and miss it.

For now, Zelboraf has saved this girl to:

Make giant shadow puppets on the soccer field.  My daughter’s teammate – “Do you see that little kid and that lady? Weird!” Our daughter – “Yep, that’s my mom.” She loves me. I promised her next turn.

Spend time at Jerry’s cabin with family where his ashes now rest peacefully near his dock and beloved boat.

Pester teenagers by reminding them of when they were terrified of magic flushing potties, and other horrid stories.

Turn off the water, close and lock the hall bath door to “fix” a plumbing problem.    Barring some horrific food poisoning incident, we will be fine for a while.

Rush home for kid limo duty so Alan can relieve his youth at a 1980s band heavy metal concert. And on a school night!

Stock up on that multi pack of soap that only I use, because it looks like I’ll be around awhile.  I considered starting my 2012 Christmas shopping in January but nixed it.  Who wants an entire tree filled with presents from a dead person?? Cancer makes you crazy.

Say a big THANK YOU to everyone who continues to slog along with us in this saga, saying prayers, sending texts and emails, reading this, and still caring while not getting quite sick of us yet.  I keep hoping I won’t have anything left to tell, but at this point the darn cancer is becoming a lifestyle unfortunately.

Peace  to all – Amy

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