Personal: Scan Results

Ever since I first released news of my tumour, I’ve been overwhelmed by expressions of support and prayers. This has again been the case after writing a little more about it here, earlier this week, with more good wishes for my “recovery”. This seems odd, because even though this thing is technically that dread condition, a cancer – it doesn’t feel that way, at all. In fact, apart from some minor inconvenience, I feel generally much better than I’ve done for months and months.

This is an update on my scan results, which I’ve just posted on the email list for the valuable support group, GIST Support UK

After my first 6 months on Glivec, I had my latest scan on Thursday last week, and had initial results on Monday.The news was once again “good”, but not dramatic.
Top – line result is that there has been continued shrinkage, by  about 3 cm in each direction to something like 19 x 15 cm. (I did not record the exact figures) The original measurement was 25 x 21 cm, shrinking after 3 months to 22 x 18 cm. This still means that the thing remains “large”, but less massive than originally. The scan was less than two working days before my appointment, so there had not yet been time for a full written report, or for full evaluation and assessment by the MDT (Multi – Disciplinary Team). The MDT, which includes the surgical consultant, with input from the experts at Royal Marsden, will be meeting next week for that full deliberation.
I was told it’s conceivable (not necessarily likely) that even thought it’s still large, that they could recommend proceeding to surgery – or may not. For now, I’ve been put onto a fresh 3-month cycle of imatinib as before. This suits me, as I’m not enthusiastic at the prospect of surgery, and my system is coping well with the meds. If there is any suggestion of proceeding to surgery , I will most certainly ask for a 2nd opinion from the good lady at UCL Euston.
As before, I continue to experience only minor side – effects, with none of the really nasty ones troubling many others in this group. I have a lot of wind (released usually by burping), some odd and variable bowel movements (but not actual diarrhoea), slightly swollen ankles and some puffiness of the eyelids. Before the GIST diagnosis, the main symptoms I was experiencing were bowel pains caused by displacement by the tumour, and also some difficulties in breathing under even mild exercise – once again, caused by the size of the tumour, which had caused some collapse of one lung. With the shrinkage since then, the bowels and lung have recovered to normal, and in fact I’ve been feeling generally better than I’ve done in many months.
So, I count myself 3 times fortunate, against the background of cancer:
  • I’m spared the horrors of conventional chemo or radiotherapy;
  • My side – effects from the medication have been mild
  • I am not yet facing the prospect of surgery and all that it entails. That will come – but meanwhile, I’ve some time to get my head around the prospect.
For which, I’m deeply grateful – and for the constant support, inspiration, and information from this group.
(Not everyone with GIST is as fortunate. For a different perspective, see DeadManRambling, their UK facebook page ). 

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