Our goal yesterday was to have a normal day.
We had breakfast downtown at Harry’s again.
I had corned beef hash + eggs.
Jon chose this salmon + cream cheese thing in eggs.
And we ate the best pecan + date scone we’ve likely ever eaten. (Plus I threw in a chocolate cookie because … I felt like it.)
Afterward, we finalized updated wills, living wills, power of attorney stuff, etc.
The first time someone asked Jon about this stuff (at the PET scan less than 24 hours after the diagnosis)? I sobbed. Yesterday, I contained it and just almost puked on the floor in front of everyone.
We did some shopping, too, and hung out at home for a while. Last night, though, we went to our first social thing – a birthday party for a sweet little 5 year old.
Honestly, I was terrified. My stomach hurt the whole way there because I realistically wasn’t sure if I could keep myself from crying – and it just wasn’t the time or place for that.
It was great, though. We had a fabulous time. I’m glad we didn’t stay at home and mope.
So – our first normal day since Tuesday was successful. It hit me a few times throughout the day – the punch to the gut – but I survived.
We’re going to be ok.
We didn’t expect to learn much new from the oncologist on Friday, but we did.
Jon does NOT have stage IV cancer. He elaborated that the PET scan would have revealed tumors large enough to indicate stage IV, no doubt. It didn’t – so we’re good there. He told us that the surgeon will absolutely NOT visibly detect tumors on Jon’s liver that the PET scan didn’t pick up – so that stress is over.
Jon’s CEA level (carcinoembryonic antigen – a protein molecule associated with colon cancer) is 69, which we knew. Normal is 0-5. It mostly means nothing at this point, but will be used as a marker to determine relapse, etc. It is expected to drop to somewhere between 0-3 following surgery.
Based on the CEA level alone, it is estimated that Jon has stage II (meaning the tumor invaded the colon wall) or III (meaning lymph nodes have been affected) cancer. We were cautioned that the CEA level is NOT used to determine such things, but that it’s unlikely such a high level would indicate stage I (meaning the tumor is completely contained in the colon with zero spread into the colon wall or lymph nodes).
Stage II or III (which we’ll know following surgery) will mean 6 months of chemotherapy. There is some stuff about mutations, etc. that might not indicate chemo for stage II, but it’s all incredibly speculative/open to debate at this point.
Jon’s tumor is located right at the point where the rectum meets the sigmoid colon, but it’s impossible to determine exact location until surgery.
If the tumor is located in the rectum – or as close as they assume – Jon will undergo radiation therapy in addition to chemo.
The oncologist was positive. We like him (which is good since Jon will see him every 3 months for years). Prognosis = good (regardless of the stage).
We feel so incredibly lucky/relieved.
Now, we just patiently wait until Wednesday.