Good and bad news

Good and bad news

Good and bad news On the Path blog by Cheryl Schatz

Today I met with my doctor and received the results of the bone scan that was taken yesterday. There was good and bad news and the doctor didn’t mince words. 

The bad news, he said, is that the bone scan found cancer in my spine in the T3 disk. But there was a lot of good news in my eyes. While there were two disks that were called into question as having cancer, only one of the disks showed up on the bone scan. The disk was said to contain “a small focal area of uptake” with the doctor emphasizing “small”. It is a small metastasis of the breast cancer, according to my doctor, and the plan is to watch what happens to it as the next level of treatment is given to me. There is more good news. Because of the spot found by the CT scan and the bone scan, the doctors supervising my cancer care have agreed to proceed with the mastectomy but have cancelled the axillary dissection (the removal of my lymph nodes). I really prayed that God would spare me of this pain and the likely permanent swelling of my arm if the procedure was not necessary, and God provided a way to have the procedure cancelled. God is still in control and He answers prayer!

The plan is for me to have the surgery as planned on February 11th and about a month after the surgery I would start taking a pill that would block my estrogen. The pill will help because the cancer is estrogen positive and is using estrogen to grow. My doctor will also watch the spot and use it to determine if the pill is being effective stopping the growth of the cancer. If the cancer gets smaller or doesn’t change at all, it is a positive sign that the treatment is working. My doctor told me that many patients who have metastatic breast cancer live longer than ten years so he expects I have years ahead of me to live.

The next surprise was a call this afternoon from my surgeon. He verified that he will not be removing my lymph nodes and he also questioned the finding of the bone scan. He said that often degenerative disk disease can be mistaken for cancer. Since the bone scan verified that I have degenerative disk disease, he thinks that the spots that were found on the CT scan and the one spot found on the bone scan are related to the disease and are not the spread of cancer. He told me that I should request to have a PET scan which is much better suited to finding cancer. It is only administered in Vancouver about 8 hours away, but he thinks that this test should be given to me before any treatment happens on my spine. I was very encouraged that the surgeon was questioning the diagnosis of stage 4 cancer. I am going to ask my doctor to book the test for me sometime after I heal from my surgery. I am so thankful for the prayers on my behalf. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride again, but the ride has been more positive this time, praise the Lord!

8 thoughts on “Good and bad news

  1. Hi Cheryl… admire your courage and how clearly you write about your journey! God is giving you supernatural strength for sure. We take our turns it seems to walk through the valley of uncertainty. Praying that you can continue to trust that HIS will is sufficient for you… easier said than done I know. You are in my thoughts and prayers for recovery, restoration and re-joining the healthy bloggers!!!!

  2. So glad to hear that. Pray your surgery goes well and that your trip to Vancouver becomes a celebration of your complete healing. Trusting God to go ahead of you to prepare your way Cheryl. His strength is very evident in you. Blessings and prayers.

  3. I couldn’t have said it better than what blumsaddeline and Jenny have said. We praise God for His answers for our prayers. I am amazed at the way He has chosen to answer them! We will continue to pray for you.

  4. Thank you blumzadeline. This is indeed a valley of uncertainty, although the One who walks with me controls the walk through this valley. It is hard sometimes not knowing what my end will be for sure, and what pain I will have to go through before my days are through. My best pray for for restoration and if not for strength to go through whatever God has for me.

  5. Thanks for the affirmation Jenny. Unfortunately my doctor does not want me to get a PET scan, but he is offering to have the bone scan redone in a few months. He believes that this would be comparing apples to apples. I have been reading about the PET scan and see that there are more false positives with the PET scan than even the bone scan, so maybe his wisdom works this time. In the meantime I will be put on pills that are designed to hold back the cancer whether it has spread or not and another bone scan will test to see if the pills are working. Or the spots will be gone. We will see later this year.

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