"Good, stable disease" is how my doctor described my latest CT scan (done last week). Doesn't that sound odd? Like a big, fat oxymoron? Good disease.
The magical word once again is stable. But his oncological definition of stable and my definition of stable is different.
As I expected, all my innumerable lung friends have once again grown another 2mm. That is what I prepared myself to hear given the track record of my last few scans. And once again, we were assured that 2mm is "stable" in the cancer world and we should relax. As relaxed as one can be when they are watching cancer continue to dominate, albeit mere millimeters at a time.
The glass half empty me sees that chemo-lite isn't working; that it's not stopping the disease in its tracks or keeping it at bay.
The glass half full me sees that chemo-lite is working; keeping the cancer cells from dividing that much faster and slowing their progress throughout my lungs.
But I still challenged the whole idea of another 2mm and the use of the word stability, because in my world, stability means nothing has changed. And 3 months from now, and 6 months from now, and 9 months from now, as I continue to add 2mm to each of my innumerable tumors, they will start to become a problem.
And we have to ask, do we just keep on with the status quo until it becomes a "problem" (impacts breathing, lung space or spreads elsewhere), or do we become more aggressive now? The general idea of chemo-lite is to give my body a break, which it has had. I have recovered in every sense of the word from the chemo that ended last September.
As it stands now, I will continue on for another 3 months of chemo-lite with my tiny little tumors. Several options were put on the table and the discussion was slightly more passionate regarding the next step. I don't have a passive attitude about this whole idea of "stable" disease, but I also want to avoid the full dose of chemo as much as the next guy. I just feel like I'm not in a position to do so for much longer.
With a few days to think about it, I've formulated a game plan that I think my doctor will be on board with and I'll talk about it later with some amazing graphics to enable the medical terminology impaired. It does involve a repeat of last year, but perhaps not nearly so bad. In the mean time, it's treatment and motherhood as usual.