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Well, I had my MRI appointment today, the first scan I’ve had since I was first diagnosed in March. It was an important scan because it’s the first time we can tell for sure if the treatments worked and ultimately helps my doctors evaluate my prognosis for “disease free survival”. As a reminder, or for those of you who have started following my blog later in the course of my treatment, my doctors initially told me that my “disease free survival” rate was 50-60%, or that I had a 40-50% chance of not being 100% cured from the cancer after all my chemo treatments, surgery and radiation. The initially bleak prognosis was due to the several high risk factors for my cancer: being HER2+, being ER+, the number, size and grade of the tumors, being detected after lymph node involvement, my age (higher risk in younger women), etc.
After a while in the waiting room and upon being called back, I was asked to change into some scrubs and was led back to the MRI scan room. I was wearing my hat with the pony tail sewn into it. They asked me to remove my jewelry and my hat for the scan. Let me first say this – I have never let ANYONE see me without a hat or wiggie since I lost my hair. I think only Dan, my mom, Nina and Janelle have ever seen only short glimpses but that’s about it. I also must add that I am NOT an emotional person at all and it takes a huge life event for me to cry. However today, as soon as the radiologist technician asked me to take off my hat, I started crying, upset about having someone see me without my hair for pretty much the first time. They comforted me though by telling me it was fine, they see it all the time and told me I was beautiful anyway. I got over it quick I guess. I think I was just nervous.
The scan lasted about 20 minutes. They started an IV for the contrast fluid first (not to be confused with “compost” fluid, which I was calling it during my initial CT scans back in March, ha). The MRI machine is tunnel shaped with a table that goes in and out of the machine. I laid down on my stomach, was given ear plugs for the noise (it’s extremely loud) and was led into the machine. After about 20 minutes of these very loud noises for the scan images, that was it. The technician said they’d send the results to my doctor within three days but asked for my cell phone number just in case the doctor had a chance to review the results today and wanted to call with the results. I left my appointment, went home and finished up my day at work.
Right before 7:00pm, the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number and almost didn’t answer it but I did, because I’ve had a lot of unknown numbers calling me for all the appointments I have now. It was the radiologist doctor calling from the radiology lab. She was calling with my results……..
She said she read over my scans and was calling with good news. She said there was NO signs of cancer remaining and that I had a complete response!!!! During my biopsies in March, they had implanted three tiny titanium clips, one in each tumor, so they could be sure they knew where to look when they did the post-treatment scans. She said she looked at all the clips sites, including the ones in my lymph nodes, and didn’t see any signs of cancer remaining. As soon as I hung up the phone, I cried again, but happy tears this time. I’ve only cried happy tears a few times in my life: first on my wedding day, next when I found out I was pregnant in February, again at Nina’s wedding a few weeks ago and today when I learned I was cancer free.
I’m not sure how or if this changes for my surgery or radiation plans, but I should find out soon. I’ll keep everyone posted! Thanks again for everyone’s prayers! Today was a big relief!! Thank you God and thank you Dr. Limentani!!