Today I am preparing for my return to the imaging center tomorrow for a PET scan that we run every three to six months, depending on whether my tumor markers are dropping, stable or, ugh, rising. As I always like to remember, sometimes tumor markers can rise for reasons other than cancer activity, or, putting it another way, treatment failure. I like to avoid those negative words, however, and at times like this when my tumor markers have been rising, I try to think of everything but the upcoming scan. It is no secret that many of us with metastatic breast cancer have no love of our appointments with the imaging center. Of course, as someone said to me, Well, I know how you feel. I had to have a PET scan and was a basket case, but you already know you have stage IV breast cancer, so what would be the surprise. I will admit, that was one of those rare moments that left me wide eyed and tongue tied. I have not yet recovered from that encounter.
In view of my distaste for PET scans or other tests that cause anxiety during that freaking-out period of waiting for the results, I was pondering today whether we could have a system installed that would be something like the intruder alert that they had on the Starship Enterprise. Instead of having to go for a test, the system would simply alert us as soon as our treatment was starting to lose its potency. We could then push a button that would turn off the alert and switch to playing soothing sounds so we could dance, sing or meditate—or, should I say, medicate.
I’m going to write to Captain Kirk.
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