Monday, January 29, 2007

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0432 - The Next Biopsy

The next scheduled endoscopy and biopsy sampling will be Friday, February 16th, this time at the Grand River Hospital again, the hospital where I was first diagnosed with cancer as a result of my first colonoscopy in November 2005. This will be the 4th endoscopy procedure for me in about 14.5 months. I also have a followup CEA lab test scheduled for the 27th of February and a consultation with the medical oncologist. Presumably I won't have to wait the full 11 days to get the pathology report, but maybe so.

I also got my CEA results from January 15th and was pleased that there was no evidence of higher levels. Instead, the result was virtually identical to what it was after my surgery and during my chemotherapy from June to September of 2006.

Again, I'm not quite sure how to feel about the acceleration of my endoscopy and biopsy (a full 6 weeks ahead of time). It was gratifying to see that my CEA levels had not risen, but that really doesn't mean too much. What is interesting, though, is the reaction that I'm getting from different folks about the news. Some seem to realize implicitly that this is serious stuff, that I'm not really in the clear yet, that there is reason to be anxious about the tests and results. Others seem entirely oblivious, assuming, I guess, that until I'm scheduled for surgery there really isn't anything to worry about.

One of the books I've read recently talks about this phenomenon for cancer survivors. The chapter is entitled "Who Showed Up" - as you can guess, it's about reactions from friends and family members. And as you might assume, you can tell a lot about a person from their reaction (or lack of reaction) to news about a life-threatening illness or the death of a close relative or friend. But like CEA tests, CT scans and MRI images, an individual's response isn't always definitive.

But you can only make excuses for someone's behaviour for so long. After a while, you might as well realize that if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, you at least have to consider the possibility that it is a duck (thanks to Douglas Adams).

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