Apparently I was able to keep up my pre-PET scan diet whilst making the 9-hour drive from DC to Detroit on Monday, so Tuesday's PET scan went off without a hitch.
In theory, the scan is a big deal. It will, at the very least, be able to tell if I'm in remission or not. Even if there is some residual activity, it might not be a big deal because the radiation remains effective for a while after you finish the treatment itself. I spent some time with Dr. Robbins (Dr. Kim's resident) discussing this issue. In short, if the PET scan is clear, it's clear and there are no problems. If there is residual activity, things might still be fine without any more treatment.
In practice, I'm not all worked up over the thing. All of my doctors agree that I'm almost definitely in remission right now. This is based on the fact that my type of lymphoma is typically very responsive to treatment and the fact that three cycles of R-CHOP brought the cancer cells to the brink of elimination.
So getting the damn thing into remission isn't particularly difficult. Keeping it there is a little more tricky.
Actually, I misstated that a little bit: Keeping it there isn't incredibly difficult, particularly with my type of lymphoma (marked by good prognosis). It's figuring out the most effective way to keep the thing in remission. I think somebody this weekend likened it to the concept of "double tap" from the movie Zombieland. I've never seen the film, but I think I agreed - the point is to make sure this thing is dead.
The problem is that I have to absorb every bullet aimed for the cancer. So "double tap" might not be as good a strategy for killing cancer as it is for killing Zombies. Right now, I feel a little bit like Marv from Home Alone after he tries to kill the tarantula on Joe Pesci's chest by wacking it with a crowbar. I don't like the feeling of being done with four months of cancer treatment and wondering, "Did I get it?! Did I get it?!"
So anyway, the PET scan is done and has probably already been read. I don't meet with Dr. Anderson until the 28th, but I might just swing by the hospital to pick up the damn thing and read it myself. Plus, I assume my other doctors will want to see the scan (it won't make any difference to Dr. Li; Sloan-Kettering's desire to see the PET scan before making any recommendation indicates that it might have some impact on their decision).
I'm certainly fine with and happy to enjoy the rest of my year, but I still have to keep things moving along. I don't want to get into a situation where it's January 3rd and I still haven't made progress with Sloan-Kettering or Stanford. So that's my goal, unfortunately, for the Christmas season: To try my best to get answers about whether it's hospital time or DC time. At this point, I really don't care anymore. I've recalibrated my thoughts and I'm prepared to not make it to DC until April. Will this be disappointing? I can't think of anything more disappointing right now. Except having to do this shit again. Which is what I'm trying to avoid.
So that's where we stand with PET scan 3. I'll have more details for you as I get them.