Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chest Pains Again

For the past several days, I've been feeling pain on my right side, similar to the pains I'd felt in December last year, which turned out to be a recurrence. A dull, thick-ish pain deep in the right side of the chest (the lung?), plus stiffness and tightness around the entire right chest and arm area. When I breathe in, the pain gets worse and feels a bit sharp and piercing. Before, we attributed the pain to nerve damage from radiation, only to find out from the PET/CT scan in August that it was a recurrence of cancer. This is why I’m so worried. I think the tumors are growing again.

On the one hand, I can't believe the cancer could've come back so soon after my last chemo session on Nov. 28. On the other hand, everyone, especially my oncologist, was surprised and alarmed when we learned I'd had a recurrence so soon after my treatment ended last time. So these cancer cells might be incredibly aggressive and/or... we just ended my chemo as my cancer cells were developing resistance to it so that the chemo isn't really working anymore anyway.

Tony thinks I should get another PET/CT scan now before we leave for the U.S. next Monday. But I've already had two PET/CTs this year. These things are dangerous. I could wait until the four months my doctor recommended comes up, but if this is another recurrence, the cancer would've spread a lot by then.

I could just get a chest X-Ray, but I had a chest X-Ray and CT scan last December when the pains started and they didn't pick up anything wrong.

The sister of a lady I know just died of metastatic breast cancer last week. She'd had Stage II cancer a few years ago and had a recurrence earlier this year. She carried on working full-time, and when my friend saw her several weeks ago, the lady was looking very, very fit and healthy. And two weeks later, she was gone. Just like that. That could be me. I'm looking and feeling fit and healthy now, but like her, I could rapidly deteriorate in two weeks' time and be gone, just like that.

So there's a bit of me that's panicking, thinking about all the things I need to get done. I need to start writing letters to the kids. Is now the time to do that? I've got so much to do before we leave for the U.S., I can't even think straight! And if my condition deteriorates as quickly as that lady, I’ve got no chance of getting ready because I’d be spending my last two weeks in and out of consciousness. For the last few days, she was in a coma. Imagine that. Going from fit and running around town doing Christmas shopping one day, to lying in a coma less than two weeks later.

I’m going to see the doctor now. This is getting a bit scary. I suppose now’s the time to be brave.

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