Over the past couple of weeks I have fought a nasty case of bronchitis, gone to several concerts and festivals, took a trip to the beach with my friend Heather, and had my pre-surgery PETscan.
My PETscan was on Friday and the following Monday after work I drove to Reston Hospital and picked up the report without telling anyone. Through the medical “mumbo jumbo” I continued to see the word “normal” repeated. The report talked about my mediport, my “collapsed implant” (which is where they removed my breast on the left side), and something about the top of my left lung. I called my Mom waking her from a nap. “Hello,” she said. “My PETscan was normal,” I said calmly. Silence fell over the phone, and then I heard sniffing. This was the first test I had received that was normal. My family was moved to tears – only this time they were joyful.
The following week I went to see my Oncologist, Dr. David Heyer, to review my PETscan results and get my mediport flushed. (Even though I am no longer receiving treatment I still have to have my port accessed and flushed once a month to avoid infection.) Dr. Heyer entered the exam room with a big smile and a sturdy hand shake. He immediately commented about how long my hair is getting and how he likes it dark.
Opening my huge medical folder he looked over my PETscan images. “Jennifer, your PETscan looks amazing,” he said. I choked on the tears and swallowed hard. He brought the images over to me and sat down. He showed me visually the different things that the report was referencing so that I could see what they were referring to on the images. “So does that mean I can get my port removed on May 4 during my reconstruction?” I asked. “It does,” said Dr. Heyer smiling. “And you know what else? I don’t need to see you back for four months.”
Dr. Heyer did point out in my images a section at the top of my left lung that lit up. Apparently, the six weeks of intense radiation has damaged the top section of my left lung. This will never go away, but should heal and eventually scar inside my body. Dr. Heyer told me to be very aware in case I get a cough or any issues breathing. He said that the intensity of the radiation was necessary and that we will just have to keep a watchful eye on the left lung as we continue with my imaging.
Dr. Heyer listened to my chest and my back focusing on my left lung and said that he believed everything sounded good. In four months we will redo the PETscan and see how it has healed.
Leaving the doctors office the nurses and administration all came out to congratulate me with hugs, kisses and huge smiles. I had forgotten that they have been fighting right along side me in this battle and were experiencing emotions similar to mine. I left the doctors office feeling as though I had been given back some of my independence – some of my freedom. I called my boyfriend and my Mom sharing the good news and my sense of renewal. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and rejoiced in the positive news. Finally!