Thursday, July 19, 2012

Test Results are in, Surgery Scheduled

I am at work, as is Frank, Zack is hanging out with his friends and going to see his Aunt Jamey. The "protection" starts. I text Jamey "do you or any of the kids have a cold, have been sick or a runny nose, even if it's allergies" She replies, "no we are all healthy, the house is clean but we do have two cats and a dog", I reply "we are even then, I have Frank".... we get a good laugh in and she writes that she totally understands.

We get a call from the Cancer Center and there is no trace of anything in his chest or abdominal area! This is GREAT news!! This means it has not spread. We make it through another huge hurdle.

I get a call from the surgeons office, the anesthesiologist and the scheduling dept. Zack's surgery will be tomorrow ( Friday) at Noon. We are to be there at 10:45 to prep him. The surgery, as with everything else is at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC. A big (ok I live in Brevard, people) city just 45 minutes away. They will be installing the port and do a bone marrow biopsy on his hip. This is the FINAL test to show that he does not have any more cancer cells in his body. The port will be inserted into his chest on the left side, this will enable them to connect the tubes for his iv for the chemotherapy. This will stay in him through the course of the treatments. Of course I had to make some joke about charging my cell phone through the port, I did manage to get one chuckle... (Humor is my way of coping).

My wish is to start the chemo on Tuesday next week. I am off work and can be there for a day or two to get him settled in. We are to go and meet with the Doctors after the surgery tomorrow to set up the rest of the treatment schedule. 

Glossary: These are all the tests that Zack has had to date.

Cancer is a complex disease and occurs when cells in the body begin to grow chaotically. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes astray; cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed. Some types of cells are more prone to abnormal growth than others. The mass of extra cells forms a growth or tumor, which can be benign or malignant.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a relatively new and painless technique that allows doctors to look at the soft tissues of the body. it is different from regular x-rays like you get in a doctor's office because it does not expose you to radiation. Instead, a radio frequency is used to knock your hydrogen atoms out of line. As they move back to their natural alignment, each hydrogen atom in your cells emits a tiny electric signal. The MRI scanner has very strong magnets in special coils to detect the electric signal. A computer uses these signals to create a detailed image of your soft tissues.
Magnetic resonance imaging allows doctors to see the image of many structures inside joints that cannot be felt by direct touch with their fingers. Some of these structures are ligaments (tissues connecting bones), menisci (tissues absorbing shock in the knee), and tendons (tissues connecting muscle to bone). The ability to look at these structures inside an injured joint has greatly improved patient care because, in many instances, it enables doctors to correctly diagnose and treat the injured structures earlier.

PET scan:  
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) imaging have become essential diagnostic tools physicians use to reveal the presence and severity of cancers. PET/CT imaging helps physicians detect cancer, evaluate the extent of disease, select the most appropriate treatments, determine if the therapy is working, and detect any recurrent tumors.
Before a PET/CT scan, the patient receives an intravenous injection of radioactive glucose. Many cancer cells are highly metabolic and rapidly synthesize the radioactive glucose. Information regarding the location of abnormal levels of radioactive glucose obtained from the whole-body PET/CT scan helps physicians effectively pinpoint the source of cancer and detect whether cancer is isolated to one specific area or has spread to other organs.
From this information physicians can plan an effective treatment strategy. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, systemic therapy, or a combination therapy where one or more of these options are combined.
During the course of treatment, the information from the PET/CT scan allows physicians to monitor the effectiveness of cancer therapies and provides physicians with the opportunity to change the treatment strategy if it is not working, avoiding the cost and discomfort of ineffective therapeutic procedures.
After completing the treatment regimen, a follow-up whole-body PET/CT scan can provide information to assess if the treatment was successful and if areas that were previously abnormally metabolically active have responded. Often, scar tissue at the site of surgical resection or radiation treatment may appear as an abnormality on the CT scan. The PET portion of the PET/CT scan can detect residual disease within the scar tissue and indicate if the treatment was successful or if the tumor has returned.

CT Scan: 
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body.
During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied. Each rotation of the scanner provides a picture of a thin slice of the organ camera or area. All of the pictures are saved as a group on a computer. They also can be printed.
In some cases, a dye called contrast material may be used. It may be put in a vein (IV) in your arm, or it may be placed into other parts of your body (such as the rectum or a joint) to see those areas better. For some types of CT scans you drink the dye. The dye makes structures and organs easier to see on the CT pictures.
A CT scan can be used to study all parts of your body, such as the chest, belly, pelvis, or an arm or leg. It can take pictures of body organs, such as the liver, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, lungs, and heart. It also can study blood vessels, bones, and the spinal cord.
Fluoroscopy CT is a special test that is not widely available. It uses a steady beam of X-rays to look at movement within the body. It allows the doctor to see your organs move or to guide a biopsy needle or other instrument into the right place inside your body.

Bone Scan: 

A bone scan is a test to help find the cause of your back pain. It can be done to find damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread to the bones, and watch problems such as infection and trauma to the bones. A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
For a bone scan, a radioactive substance is injected into a vein in your arm. This substance, called a tracer, travels through your bloodstream and into your bones. This could take several hours.
A special camera takes pictures of the tracer in your bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots. This could show a lack of blood supply to the bone or certain types of cancer.
Areas of fast bone growth or repair absorb more tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may point to problems such as arthritis, a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.

No comments:

Post a Comment