This is another one of those situations where I just have to laugh, so I don’t want to pull my hair out. I’m already missing half of my hair with the exception of 2 inches of new growth, from my surgery in February. SO, with that I will choose laughter. Not only do I finally have an appointment for a scan, but I’ve been scheduled 4 times for scan appointments.

Here’s the story. Since my PET scan was cancelled on Friday, I called that same day to schedule an MRI because I knew that I could get one of those sooner than August 8th, which was my new PET scan date. Getting an MRI, as well as a PET scan is a good idea, anyways, because the last scan that I had here at home in April was an MRI, so they’ll have a comparison. So I put a call into my doctor on Friday requesting that he fax over an order to the hospital for an MRI. I called the hospital myself that day and scheduled my MRI for this coming Friday. So this morning I get a phone call from the PET scan clinic telling me that they went ahead and re-scheduled my cancelled appointment, for the exact same time that I scheduled my MRI, of course. SO, I then called the hospital to move my MRI to Monday. When I got home from running errands today, I had 2 phone calls from 2 separate nurses at my doctor’s office saying that they both scheduled an MRI appointment for me and to please call them back so that they could give me details. Wow, what an orginizational structure. Not only at my doctor’s office, but for the hospital scheduling staff that would allow 3 appointments to be made for the same patient to get a brain MRI scan within 24 hours of each other. Comical, eh? Yeah, I really don’t think so, either.

So, here’s the final schedule. I will be having a PET scan on Friday and an MRI on Monday.

For those of you who are wondering what the difference is betweent the 2 scans, here it is. The MRI is better at showing solid masses, as well as blood supply. They inject contrast into my veins half way through my MRI scan. This contrast then lights up any blood vessels in my brain, so if they see some blood vessels lighting up going into and around my tumor, it means that my tumor is “enhancing”. This is usually, but not always, an indication of a high grade tumor. The tumor has progressed enough to create it’s own network of blood vessels. A PET scan, on the other hand, shows the metabolic activity of individual cells. They inject a glucose substance into my veins prior to the scan. When they do the scan, the cells will metabolically uptake that glucose. Cancer cells will uptake that glucose faster than regular cells (It’s very interesting that people think that there’s no relationship between sugar intake and cancer growth, because of this very phenomenon). This increase in uptake is called SUV (sugar uptake value). They compare the SUV of the cancer cells to the SUV of regular cells. The difference is measured in a number such as 2.5. This means that the cancer cells are taking up the sugar 2.5 times faster than your normal cells around that tumor. A wider variance in uptake value usually indicates a more aggressive tumor, but again, not necessarily. This all is definitely not an exact science. So in a nutshell, that is why both scans will be helpful in determining what this thing has done in the past couple of months.
Here is my tentative plan:

A. If it’s gone…hallelujah!
B. If it has shrunk, and seems to be responding to the treatment I’ve been receiving, then I will probably continue what I’ve been doing.
C. If it is stable, I’m not sure.
D. If it is growing, then I will either start chemo or radiation (most likely chemo), but
probably also continue doing some natural IV therapy through a clinic in Portland that
works with patients going through chemo/radiation, to offset any side effects from
treatment. I meet with that doctor on August 6th. He is willing to continue giving me IV
bags with the treatments that I’ve been doing, as well. If the tumor is gone, then I will
do a couple more bags (4 days/bag) every 3-4 months for the first year, just to stay after
any remaining cancer cells that might be floating around.

For those of you that know me well, I usually will have plans A-Z, and then backup plans for each one of those. So in the world of cancer, God has certainly humbled me and forced me into a position to rely upon his plans. This has been so challenging for me, but so wonderful, at the same time. It’s a challenge to try and figure out the balance between being responsible with the resources that God gives me through this journey, but also knowing that HE is ultimately in control, not me. I know that God is capable of healing me on his own, but I feel that it’s my responsiblity to put forth effort and be responsible with my life, health, etc…I love this parable:

A man was in an area that was being flooded, and everyone was being evacuated. The water grew so high that the man had to sit on his roof!
A boat came near and called him to come on board and be rescued. The man refused, saying only “God will save me.”
Another boat arrived, and the man again refused rescue, saying “God will save me.”
A third time a boat arrived. This time, the water was nearly up to the man’s waist, but he still refused, saying “God will save me.”
An hour later, the man drowned.
He went to Heaven and came face-to-face with the Lord. “Why didn’t you save me?” he cried.
“I sent you three boats!” retorted God.

With that said, my challenge has been to find those boats in all the little things that have surrounded my life these past several years. You guys, my dream and biggest prayer in my life right now is not just for healing, but for a ministry to come out of all of this. A ministry where I can help people find these resources, whether it’s through gathering information, finding them doctors, teaching people how they should be eating to make their bodies well. It’s hard to eat well in our society. So much of what we do centers around food, and you don’t really realize that until you start trying to restrict what you’re eating.

Anyways…I won’t get the results of my PET scan until probably Tuesday at the earliest, I’m guessing. Sometimes they get read the same day, but not always, especially since it will be on a Friday. I will be sure to post as soon as I hear, though. Please say a prayer for my dad this week, too. He has his PET scan tomorrow to see how the treatment has worked for his prostate cancer. We covet your continued prayers for peace. We have really been feeling that. You guys are amazing! Thank you for all that you do and who you are to me and my family. We are blessed!