I’m feeling very anxious. Tomorrow I have an appointment at the hospital to undergo a CT scan to establish if my tumours have reduced. I have been on Rituximab and Bendamustine for three of six cycles but it has not been plain sailing. I have had severe allergic reactions to the Rituximab (a cancer drug known as a monoclonal antibody) which halted the first cycle and caused problems for the second. It was only the last one, two weeks ago, that was delivered fully, according to plan. Thanks to much tweaking of the pre-meds and additional steroids. So will this be enough to show progress? If no reduction observed, will I have to be put on a more aggressive chemotherapy? So far I have been fortunate with the side effects; the sickness is controlled by drugs, I haven’t lost my appetite and although my hair has stopped growing and is thinning I have not lost it. I look dreadful with sunken eyes and cheeks(I’m not sure why) but this can be forgotten if I avoid looking in the mirror as much as possible.
The best outcome of the scan will be that there has been a significant enough reduction in the tumours in order to continue with the chemo programme. The worst outcome is that there has been little or no reduction and the treatment will have to be altered. I dread what this might entail.
I think I have found the uncertainty of everything to do with cancer one of the most challenging psychological aspects. There is no certainty with my diagnosis or prognosis. There are over sixty classifications of Non Hodgkin Lymphoma. It can be either slow growing and incurable or fast growing and aggressive but curable for some. I have slow growing but this is never certain because they can become fast growing at any point in the future. So I live with the uncertainty of the behaviour of the cancer, the uncertainty of treatment (I hadn’t realised how hit and miss this was) and the uncertainty of how long I will live. And should things get bad I have no idea how I might die or how long it might take.
So, although the CT scan itself is not an onerous procedure, its outcome has huge significance. A significance that disrupts my sleep and troubles my cowardly responses to treatment.