Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday, July 14th: Post #11 - Shrinkage

shrink·age (shrĭng'kĭj) n.
The process of shrinking.
The amount or proportion by which something shrinks.
A reduction in value; depreciation.

When you hear the word "shrinkage" what comes to mind? For me and many of my fellow GenXers, one particular scene from Seinfeld popped in the mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cUNNKzj_Nc "I was in the pool! I was in the pool!"

Don't worry, I'm not going to inform any of you of the impact of chemotherapy & treatments on my unmentionables, and to be honest there hasn't been much to report. If there was, it would make this blog more inappropriate than it already is. ANYWAYS, after this morning the word shrinkage has new meaning to me.

Today I had an appointment with my Orthopedic Oncologist in Denver, Dr. Ross Wilkins. For those who don't know - he's the 'carpenter' who is there to keep my pelvis intact. He wanted to check on the status of my "honeycombed hip" (yeah yeah yeah) after the first two chemo treatments. For those who don't know, the tumor had burrowed into my right pelvis around the point of the 'socket' part of the hip, resulting in a 3" square (roughly) area of my pelvis that was 1/2 bone, 1/2 tumor. Fortunately, the tumor hadn't yet grown into the 'load bearing' area above the hip joint, so I had still been able to walk without shattering my pelvis, which was in hindsight a significant danger that could have made my situation even more dangerous than it is (was).

This 'honeycomb' action was the source of most of my pain since last summer. Those of you who are here in Denver know that I was dealing with debilitating hip pain to the point where I couldn't ski last season, which we thought was caused by my mountain bike injury. However, 99% of it was from the tumor burrowing into the pelvis bone. Two days after my first chemo treatment, most of this pain was gone - indicating that the drugs were attacking the fast-growing tumor cells.

My early June X-rays showed large areas of hollowed out (dark gray) bone where this tumor had honeycombed. The X-rays from this morning showed clear evidence of splotches of white throughout the area that previously was mostly dark gray. In the words of Dr. Wilkins "It's not getting bigger,and it looks like it's shrinking". We then spent 15 minutes going over the X-ray where he showed me the various areas of calcium deposits on the film.

What does this mean you ask? While I won't know more conclusive evidence until next Monday's PETscan (I'll explain later in the week), but all signs indicate I've probably got shrinkage of the cancer.

This man will take as much shrinkage as he can get, and I haven't even been in a pool!

Carpe diem.

No comments:

Post a Comment