Talked to my oncologist yesterday. (And how's that for cool - a doctor that calls you on a Sunday afternoon because he knows you're anxious about test results.) Looks like the PET scan shows that I have a couple of nodes below my diaphragm (in addition to the nodes in my neck and thorax) that are not happy. This qualifies me as Stage 3A, which means I'll get 6 months of chemo, not 4.
Shit. I was really hoping for a Stage 2A diagnosis. That would mean four months of chemo instead of six and would indicate that the creeping crud that's in my immune system hadn't spread as far. Statistically the survival rates for Stage 2 vs. early Stage 3 aren't much different so at some level this doesn't really mean much. But...
I felt like I failed the staging test. And I hate failing tests! So I was down for a bit yesterday afternoon. Had some private man tears and then got back on the "we'll get through this fine" horse and am ready to attack the week.
So now the good news. Bone marrow came back clean which is a sign that the disease hasn't progressed into my bone marrow. This is good in terms of how far the disease has progressed and also a good sign in terms of how I'll tolerate chemo. The chemo blasts your white blood cells and your bone marrow makes WBCs so having health bone marrow will make the chemo a lot more bearable. The biggest single reason that chemo gets interrupted is that a person's WBC count is too low so they can't dose you with the chemo for fear that you'll get sick from some opportunistic infection.Another good news item is that the tumors in my chest are small enough that they don't qualify for radiation after the chemo. So one treatment avoided!
The oncologist was pretty upbeat saying that this was all pretty good news. Heart is ok, lungs are ok, bone marrow is clear. Tomorrow I'll go in and look at the scans in more detail.