This week was fun! I had a cat scan in Whitehorse, requested by the radiation oncologist in Vancouver. She wanted the same cat scan done that I had in May when I was diagnosed with cancer so she could compare my insides before and after surgery.

I had to drink two big glasses of yucky contrast stuff and get an iv for it the contrast they push while you’re in the cat scanner. It’s fun stuff, it makes you feel like you just peed while you’re in the machine. 

My doctor in Whitehorse called me that night at the hotel to tell me there was no sign of cancer on the cat scan. YAY! There was one lymph node the cat scanner reader person wanted to point out that was 6mm in size, that may need further investigation, and a likely benign liver cyst that is 8mm. News to me, but she didn’t seem to have any concern so I won’t either.

My eyes totally look crossed. This is a terrible photo.

The next day we flew to Vancouver for more appointments. Thursday was a big day with a medical oncologist appointment, a blood draw for a cancer study I’m participating in, an appointment with my radiation oncologist, and then a cat scan and radiation planning appointment.

It started first with bowel prep. FUN! The last appointment of the day was the radiation planning and they wanted me poop free and bladder full. 

The medical oncologist appointment was easy – and luckily he isn’t worried at all about the lymph node pointed out by the cat scan reader person or the liver cyst. Also good news. He said that after radiation though, I’ll need 3-4 weeks to recover before I restart chemo for the last 3 rounds. Bummer! That pushes my treatment well into next year. I just want to be done! I was hoping I could get dose 4 on the way home from 5 weeks of radiation, but he said the side effects are just too much to put them any closer. 

The radiation oncologist appointment was a ton of fun too and I’m sure Jeff was glad he came in with me. She implanted three metal seeds in the top of my vagina so it could be seen on a cat scan for planning where the radiation beams will be pointed. These will apparently be left in for life, cause no problem, or may just fall out on their own some day and I’ll not notice. The best part was Jeff and the doctor talking about moose antlers, hunting, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, big trucks, and the Yukon while she was inserting those things. So much fun! You should have been there.

By the next cat scan I already had bandaids on the inside of both of my arms from trying to get a vein to donate blood to the study so they decided to target my hand. She warmed it up by wrapping my hand in a hot wet towel and was able to get an IV in. She commented on all the IV scars she could see. 

I was lined up on the cat scan table with these red laser beams from the ceiling lined up with my body. Then the two people working on the radiation planning drew all over me and then gave me FIVE tattoos! They are just dots, but they are my first, so I’m a cool kid now with 5 tattoos. They will be used to line me up for every radiation treatment. There will be 25 days of radiation treatment.

I packed for six weeks since they told me radiation would start in 5-7 days after the planning. However they couldn’t fit me in to start until November 5th! So we’re heading back home. I left my suitcase at my friend’s house where I’ll be staying in North Vancouver, with everything I packed still in it, and will come back down in a couple weeks. It was so hard to leave home (I was grumpy and sad – even cried when packing), and didn’t expect to go back home so soon! Hopefully it will be easier to leave next time when the timeline is a little more known for me.

Cabela’s

We rented a car this time, and thinking radiation would start next week, we had originally planned on taking a short vacation, maybe to Vancouver Island, but we’ve cancelled it now. In theory we wanted to do something relaxing and fun, but neither of us were really into it. We did take a drive to Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop though. And today before the airport, my friend took us to Lynn Canyon Park for a short walk around.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

I’ve been feeling okay. Still quite weak with no energy, and grumpy when I’m tired (sorry Jeff!). My joints are sore, especially my knees, and I’ve had trouble sleeping. Some of this seems to be a common side effect with surgically induced menopause – specifically the sleep part. I had a good run though. 42 years of being a great sleeper. Now I read Reddit for hours under the covers so I don’t wake Jeff, flipping the sheets off and on with each hot flash. 

I’d still tell ya life is good though. No sign of cancer, and I’m doing everything I can to make sure it doesn’t come back.

Lisa

Lisa (Verkley) Schuyler is a blogger reporting live from her new home in Canada's Yukon Territory. Often found wearing a hoodie, covered in pet hair, Lisa is a mis-placed forester who now spends her days engineering happiness for WordPress users. Lisa loves nature, animals, and most importantly, her handsome husband Jeff.

7 Replies to “Poked, prodded, scanned, and tattooed. What a week!

  1. You are an amazing young woman, Lisa. And you have an amazing HUSBAND. Let me know when you get settled in Vancouver, I’d love to see you. Praying continues and so glad no more cancer cells seen. Love you.

  2. Oh wow! That’s amazing – obviously not the poking and prodding part, but definitely the part where they don’t find anything. You’re so badass!

  3. So glad to hear all the tests are looking good, even though the timing isn’t what you wanted to hear. The treatments must be doing their job!

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