Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A clean skeleton in her closet

First off, I have not forgotten everything. I know that when things aren't going your way you have to celebrate your small successes. Yesterday was just that. In fact, it greatly surpassed by expectations. Here is how it happened.

At about 9:00 AM I heard from the oncology team. Everything had been moved into fast forward. Sydney needed to be at the hospital at 10:30 AM for our first day of what was quickly turning into a scan whirlwind tour. No problem for Lynley and I but this presented some big concerns regarding Sydney. We had to call the school to get her out of class but, with a little girl who was becoming more and more self aware, we were concerned with what would be going through her mind. She knew she had just had a scan on Friday. She knew she was done with scans. What would be going through her mind when she realized that Mommy and Daddy would be picking her up? Would she be scared?

Lynley and I quickly game up with a game plan. We would both be simple and honest. Daddy would focus on being funny and silly. Lynley would concentrate on rolling her eyes at Daddy. If we did it just right we could get out of there without scaring her too much. Simply put, we told her that there was something on her scan that they just couldn't figure out. So, they needed some other scans to help tell them what it was. Sydney was comfortable with that. Lynley and I skated by this particular incident but I must admit we are in a totally new world with her. She is of age and starting to ask some very tough questions. It is the subject of a diary entry unto itself. But, suffice it to say, Sydney is aware.

On to the scan.

By about 2:15, Sydney was on the table in nuclear medicine. The scan took about 15 minutes. Sydney was in the zone on the narrow table slowly sliding between the 2 large plates that do all of the magic. Lynley and I stood closely by and chatted with the technicians Steve and Margaret. It was familiar for all of us. It was the same people and the same room. We have been coming here every 3 months for the last 7 years. Everyone in the room has been there with us from the very beginning.

We all know.

Oddly enough, the conversation was light. In fact, the only thing making anyone nervous was the fact that I was constantly walking back and forth to the monitor to get a better view of Sydney's scan results. The news was good though. This was the best skeleton I had ever seen. It looked absolutely clear. However, I also knew that I was looking for a 5 mm spot on Sydney on a monitor which was at about a 1:16 scale. I did not even truly know if I would be able to see the lesion on a screen so small.

Regardless, the scan looked good. My biggest fears of diffuse bony turnover or riddled little skeleton were alleviated. She still may have a little disease but judging by this scan it certainly wasn't widespread.

That was incredible news and worthy of a deep exhale.

The rest of the day was pretty family centric. We picked up the rest of the kiddos from school. Daddy put his little twerplet collating army to work at the local Mail Stop to get out a mountain of Lunch for a Cure materials. We then made our way home and then back out to Tae Kwon Do. For all practical purposes, it was a relatively normal night.

Later though, the phone rang.

It was Dr. Eames. She was ecstatic and called to let me know that the bone scan was absolutely clear. I might even say she was downright giddy about the news, but I certainly would not want to give the impression that she was anything less than perfectly professional.

In the big scheme of what lies ahead, this was a small success. But, make no mistake, it was a huge step in the right direction. It is worthy of some temporary celebration while we prepare for the next one.

Much more lies ahead.

So what does this all really mean? Well, the real key here is that we did not see several spots of concern. Furthermore, the fact that there is not activity at this spot would seem to indicate that this probably is not an aggressive process. Could it still be neuroblastoma? Absolutely. But, is it becoming less likely? You betcha.

Our next step is MIBG which they were thankfully able to schedule for this week. We will have a day of normalcy before our injection on Wednesday. In the meantime, though, there will continue to be more planning and scheduling.

But, for right now, your prayers are working. Thank you.

Yesterday, was a victory for purpose.


Ebru said...

Great news! All through the day I kept thinking about it. A year ago she was completely foreign to me and now I need to be sure each morning that she is doing well that day and enjoying it like my daughters. You are saying it could still be neuroblastoma . When it is so, I am sure you will fight again with every skill and strength you possess, Herr Dungan. But I have a feeling that, that strange lesion will still be there when she is 80 years old.

laulausmamma said...

Breathing a sigh of relief for you all....still got everything crossed that the news will continue to be great....keep the good news coming!

Unknown said...

We all breathed a sigh of relief for Sydney. We know she is yours but I feel she is a part of all of us who have followed her. God bless her and her siblings and especially you and Lynley who have to be the ones that know too much information.