PET Scan Results !

Monday, October 17th

It was the moment I was waiting for since days with my parents. THE PET scan to see if chemo is working on me alright.

My doc already told me before that there is a great probability it is. And if not, there are other chemos and other treatments to try. So I tried to keep an optimistic mindset !

Once lying in the scanner, after an hour of IV perfusion with radioactive element, the assistant tells me

I’m gonna inject the iodine now. It’s going to feel like it burns. Don’t worry, it’s normal. Try to breath peacefully and it will be soon over! Good Luck!”

I’m like, what is he talking about ? I never got Iodine during my previous PET scan. And it started to burn. From my oesophagus to my bladder. And I wanted to pee so bad! Omg. Really not pleasant. Hopefully, it only lasted like 3 minutes. WOW

When I got out, someone tells me the doctor is going to see me for the results. My dad comes with me. I arrive in the little room where the doc is screening all the PET scans and writing the results down. There’s one screen showing a scan with a patient full of cancerous lymph nodes at upper level of the body. More than I had when I begin even. I’m like … Huh

“Hey Ms Sally, so I reviewed your PET scan and I don’t see any evidence that the cancer is left! Which means that once your treatment is over, you are done. Congrats!”

14813213_10209776425301280_1466929735_oThe Scan at the top is the recent one. The one below is from last July. And on the left at the bottow , the conclusion saying there is no detection of the cancer activity.

Of course, I start automatically shedding tears, very moved. My dad too! I smile and thank the doctor. Then my dad call my mum and the rest of the family. I hear them laugh of joy and it warms my heart. I barely can talk back to them as I’m still under a great deal of emotion. It feels AMAZING to know that I’m almost done spending my whole life at the hospital or sleeping because of treatments. And that I’m going to live. Not just months or few years. Just live.

My dad propose to celebrate at the restaurant. So we go and I get a delicious goat cheese and honey pizza. YUM

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SO WHAT’S NOW ?

Well, I still have 2 chemo rounds left and 3 weeks of radiotherapy. To secure the remission.

As you might already know, we don’t get instantly cured of cancer. We enter remission. Which means that the scanners and medical screenings can’t discern evidence of cancer. Which is of course amazing!
However, active or latent cancer cells can subsist in the body (and in my case, in my lymphatic system) and be undetectable. This is why I have to finish treatment to give me the best chance of complete remission without futur relapse.

Radiotherapy especially is going to irradiate little zones where I had cancerous lymph nodes and break the DNA of the cells around. Only sane cells can repair themselves and survive. The bad ones die.

So that’s the super news! I will finish treatments on the last day of radiotherapy, which is December 16th. Right in time for my 25th birthday and the year end celebrations !!

I feel so relieve to see the light at the end of the tunnel! And it gives me the motivation I needed after this past week to finish the battle!
Around 8 weeks after the last treatment (End of January – Beginning of February), I will have the final PET scan to confirm my official complete remission and to demonstrate that the cancer is not coming back right when the treatment stopped.

Then, I will have scans and doc appointments every 3-4 months and then 6 months during 5 years. After 5 years of clean scan, you are considered totally cured since risks of relapse for Hodgkin’s lymphoma after 5 years of remission are very rare or even inexistant!

4th Chemo and Theater

Wednesday, October 5th

I see my best friend from middle school and first year of high school. We lived a lot of episodes of laughters and young teenager chores. Now she lives in Aix-en-Provence. Really close by! We jump on the opportunity to see each other and go shopping. I enjoy to the max knowing that tomorrow I have chemo.

Thursday, October 6th

Time to fight. Round 4.

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I have an appointment with a new doctor. I had 4 chemos and 4 doctors. One different each time. It’s a bit confusing sometimes!

She tells me “Alright. I see here that your white cells are really really low. You are at the edge of aplasia. And you are suppose to do a chemo, which will kill the cells you have left. I don’t understand you didn’t do the Granocyte shots ?

-Yes, I did ! During three days.

-Well, it looks like it’s not going to be enough. I sign off for the chemo this time because I see that your Monocytes are up. Which are basically the same kind of immune cells but are produced faster. So it gives me the indication that they are going up soon. And you will do four days of injections. Do you do them by yourself ?

-No, my dad or a nurse do them.

-Well.. There’s really just in France where easy injections like this are covered by the social security. Don’t you want to do them yourself and help reduce silly health expenses ?

-Huh.. Yeah, sure. If someone can teach me…”

Alright, this doc was a bit cold, not like the others. My dad didn’t like her much to be honest. For me, it’s ok. As long as I get treated, it’s fine!

After an eternity of waiting, it’s finally my turn! Chemo perfusion starts and I have this really nasty metal taste other patients were talking about that I didn’t felt the first two chemo rounds. Well now, I just can’t forget the taste and it makes me nauseous. So I took plenty of candy to fight it with sugar and sweets! Yummy

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At the end of the chemo, I am SO tired. I can barely walk. I feel super weak. I finally somehow succeed to get into the car, with my dad helping me.

Once inside, I start singing a bit over the songs of the radio. My dad, to make me happy, turn up the volume and realize that I actually felt asleep in the middle of a verse. He told me that he laughed a little bit.

Friday, October 7th

I finally get out of my post-chemo coma of the two first days. My friend, Barbara, is coming from Paris to spend the weekend with me. She arrives around midnight. There’s a play at the hospital tonight about cancer, and even though I’m so toasted, I really want to go check it out. I feel it’s gonna be a good surprise!
We arrive 10 min late at the play.

It talks about 3 friends, 3 women young and long-time friends. All having a very different personality. Well, one of them get diagnosed with cancer.
It’s just a beautiful script and really REAL. Not like a Hollywood superproduction. Like what you really go through with your entourage when you got diagnosed. Sarcastic humor, scares and reconsideration of what you do and who you are.
It was really touching and I recognized many moments where I went myself and laughed and cried about it ! It was just too hard to keep myself from feeling and living again those moments! I can tell it was the same for my dad too ! (Probably one of the script writer got diagnosed with cancer herself, which gave her inspiration and real experience to write this play, so it sounds fair)

The play is called Cellule de Crise.
And here a pic of me with the actresses!

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