My morning went a little like this; "good news, good news, good news, good news, good news, but....". It was a bit like taking a trip to your favorite restaurant, ordering your favorite entree, sides and beverage and when it comes to the table, there is a large hair of unknown origin cooked into your meal. It's everything you were hoping for and expecting. But....
Today was my appointment to go over the results of my latest CT scan and lab work. From very early in this process I knew today would be the day I would be discussing how my body responded to my scheduled course of chemotherapy and most likely be discussing surgery.
And the results were good, all of my blood work was excellent, my tumor marker levels are back within a normal range and my blood levels are improving, working their way toward normal levels. The tumors in my lungs and liver had reduced in size, they aren't gone, but good progress was made there as well. The abdominal lymph node masses had shown no reduction in size, but that was to be expected, I have known from almost the beginning that tumor masses of this type (teratoma) do not typically respond to chemotherapy and would need to be surgically removed.
And there was the hair in my dinner.
Surgery may not end up being as straight forward as we originally thought. The issue is this, with surgery the goal is to remove all residual tumor masses, however, the concern is that I may have too many residual masses in the lungs and liver that would make surgery a challenge at the moment. One possible way of dealing with this is additional chemotherapy to try and further reduce/eliminate the lung and liver masses. It may entail more of the same regimen I originally had, more likely though I would need what was referred to as "high dose" chemotherapy which comes with it's own "but...". If I were to go the high dose route I would need to do a bone marrow transplant, giving my own marrow to be held in storage and then replaced in me after the high dose round because the high dose chemotherapy would wipe out my bone marrow.
All in all the news was good today, I just still have a ways to go in the process, it really is a marathon not a sprint. The next step is to have a consult with Duke University Medical Center where I am being referred to for this next phase in the treatment plan. Until then all I can do is stay positive and keep working out to be as strong as I can, physically and mentally.