It’s been quite awhile since I wrote anything about my health as there really hasn’t been anything new to report. That in itself is good news!
As many of you are aware, I was diagnosed with two completely separate and unrelated cancers in late 2013 and early 2014. Yesterday, I finally received the results of CT and PET scans and other tests done three weeks ago. The first good news was that there has been no significant change in my incurable neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) over the last year. I have only had two radioisotope (Lutetium) treatments during that time, one last October and one in April, but that has been enough to keep things stable. The tumours have not grown or spread.
Neuroendocrine tumours (NETS) produce serotonin which is sometimes referred to as a happiness hormone because a deficit can to lead to depression. An excess, however, can result in carcinoid syndrome which, as in my case, results in symptoms that include abdominal cramping and diarrhea, skin flushing, and periods of rapid heart rate. It can also lead to heart disease and other complications. A 24 hour urine test is used to measure the amount of serotonin in the body. Though I don’t know what units are used to measure serotonin, at the time of diagnosis, the level in my body was 150. Now, it’s down to 40. Though still above average, it is considered borderline and indicates that my tumours, if not completely dormant, are barely functioning. Monthly injections of Sandostatin, meant to suppress this serotonin production, are obviously working and I have had none of the above listed symptoms for the past couple of years.
More good news was the fact that there is absolutely no sign of recurrence of my second cancer which was an acinic cell tumour in one of my saliva glands. It was removed surgically followed by six weeks of radiation treatments, thirty in all. I have now been free of that cancer for over two years!
The best news, however, is the fact that I feel 100% healthy! My energy level is normal and except for the monthly injections, which are given by a nurse who comes to the house, and a treatment requiring an overnight stay in hospital in Edmonton once every six months, I’m able to lead a completely normal life. We haven’t gone on any long hikes yet this summer, but I’m quite certain that I could.
If things continue to go this well over the next year, treatments will then be reduced to one every nine months. I have no idea what the long term outlook is, but then, who really does know what their future holds? I know who holds my future and that is good enough for me!
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11