First I was told I’d most likely only need a lumpectomy + radiation, but that turned into a mastectomy. Then they thought I’d get away with just the mastectomy and no chemo; but one positive lymph node was found, indicating chemo + radiation. So when it was explained to me that I’d need CT & bone scans to see if the cancer had spread to another body part, but they did not think this was likely, I tried not to get my hopes up. (To give them credit, they also thought it was unlikely that a gene mutation was involved, and they were right about that.)
When a lymph nodes biopsy is positive for cancer, as one of mine was, there is a possibility that the cancer may have traveled through the lymphatic system and spread to another part of the body. This is called “metastasis,” and it would suck.
Well, some good news: the scan results were negative. Today I got a message from Dr. Cancer that they did not find “anything concerning” on the scans, and that there was “no distant disease.” Whew!
Which means I can move on to more interesting things, like checking out my super cool scan images! I was able to get copies of the scans on DVD, and I have no idea how they can see anything on those things. The CT scan images consist of a series of cross-sections of my pelvis, abdomen, and chest. There is one “positioning” image taken, which is how the technician figured out I was wearing a bra with underwire – from my lay person’s perspective, this is the coolest image.
The bone scan images are even hazier than the CT scans. I understand that the radioactive dye they injected me with is localized by the bones, with the greatest uptake in the area with the most active bone turnover – which happens in areas of injury, and, of course, tumors. Ok, I get it. But how the heck does anyone distinguish one gray fuzzy area from another? Well anyway, obviously I’m thrilled with the outcome, and seeing my own skeleton like this is pretty cool.