• Hi everyone; I had to share that I had my second pet scan in last 6 months and was told that nothing had changed?

    Asked by sunshinemb on Friday, January 25, 2013

    Hi everyone; I had to share that I had my second pet scan in last 6 months and was told that nothing had changed?

    When asked the oncologist; his response was well there was no evidence of active cancer cells and the lymph node has unchanged; so no chemo scheduled and another pet scan in six months. do I take that as a positive or just that I'm in limbo? I'm really not sure after 4 years of chemo and advanced stage IV ovarian, I'm so confused, I'm happy not to have chemo; but I'm also confused as to am what am I actually? I still have symptoms of this disease, fatigue, bruising, bloating, neuropathy, etc....will these ever go away or am I just in a cancer frame of mind? I have also been looking for a part time job to supplement my income; why do employers treat you like you have the plague when you tell them why you haven't worked in 4 years? Asking alot of questions here but I could really use some input. Thanks everyone...!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I would take this as a good thing if he's telling you he can't detect cancer. A PET Scan isn't 100% but it's the best thing we have right now so we go with it. You will probably have some that tell you that a PET doesn't detect cancer, it detects metabolic activity. This is true but like I said, it's not 100% but it's all we have. Sounds like he has your cancer under control which is why he's not doing chemo at this time. Chemo does some nasty stuff to your body so I think some of the side effects are probably expected but it they're bothersome...I would speak with your Dr. I too suffer from neuropathy and I'm about a year out from my last chemo treatment. It's hasn't improved significantly but it's controlled with medicine so it doesn't interfere with my daily activity.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I don't blame you for feeling confused. Some of these Qs about your medical status should probably be asked directly to your oncologist. It's perfectly understandable for you to call your doctor after the appointment and tell them you really don't know where things stand.

      A lot of your symptoms sound chemo-related, rather than cancer-related, but I'm not familiar with your type of cancer.

      The job question is a tricky situation. The potential employers are obviously concerned about your future health and your ability/availability to work if they hire you. You need to prepare and practice a brief, polished answer to this question. I suggest you tell them you were treated for cancer, the treatment is finished, and you now have no evidence of disease. You have to believe this and you have to be able to deliver it with confidence. Keep your own doubts and questions in check during the job application process. Best of luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      I would consider it good news that it has not progressed. But I am a glass half full kind of guy. There are some people that will find the negative in everything, yes I could too, but why. Look at the positive and enjoy what you can out of it.

      over 3 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I think you have confused symptoms of the disease with side effects of the treatment. Fatigue, bruising, slow wound healing, neuropathy, etc. are all common side effects of treatment, not so much symptoms of cancer. Some side effects can take months or year or in some cases never resolve. What your oncologist is telling you is not cryptic in any way. He is saying that your PET scan shows no evidence of disease. All diagnostic tools have a threshold of accuracy so it is impossible to totally rule out that there may be some remaining cancer cells.

      over 3 years ago
    • SMT4's Avatar

      I wanted to address the job aspect. when you were going through treatment did you have any activities you did unrelated to treatment maybe you could put those down. For example I was in school so I put my education down instead of identifying cancer during that time period.

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Sunshine, Your Dr and the other here are being cautious in how they are telling you about your condition, primarily because there are no sure things with cancer but I will put it moe bluntly for you. Congratualtions you are in remisasion with no evidence of active desease. This is a positive as news can get at thie point. It does not mean that the cancer may not come back but anyone can get cancer at any time so you are in the best position you can be in right now. You symptoms are probably all form the residual effects of the chemo and should get better over time but may not all go away ever. Chemo is poision and it damages more that just cancer cells. To help with the symptoms you can ask for a referal to physical therapy which should help you get stronger and become more active.

      As for the job I understand how frustrating that is. Right now with the high unemployment is is difficult for anyone to find a job. My best advice is to look for a job with a small business that is less likely to have cnocerns about hiring someone with an open spot in thier job history. You moght also try tep agencies or look for a job where you are a self employed contract worker, my wife has found good work as a nanny caring for small children.

      Good Luck and again congratualtions on being in remission!!!!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • Cindy's Avatar

      Congratulations on the good news! I would take it as a positive sign. The fatigue and neuropathy are
      common side affects of the chemotherapy. I still have some neuropathy almost 2 years after my last chemo treatment although it has improved. I had fatigue for about 9 months after my last chemo treatment.

      over 3 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar
      Carol-Charlie (Best Answer!)

      Sunshine... I'm so happy for you I'm almost doing back flips... AND if you kinew my 70 year old back... you'd tell me to stop!!! My oncologist and the gentleman doing the scan.just kept smiling. I had Stage IV also.. upgraded to IIIC after sugery.. Pet scan showed 'clear' no evidence of cancer' That was 7 years ago. In my book... Cancer free is cancer free. You are a survivor... I was that, but was going back every three months for the past 6.5 years... They just pushed me to every 6 months. Take a deep breath and say Thank God I'm a survivor. After 5 years you're not near as nervous going in for the checkups either...

      Second as to the side affects. I'm not saying they go away and you're back to yourself. At least I didn't.. but then I had two full years of it. I can say you learn to deal with it. If you had four years of chemo... I would think you're going to keep the side affects. But when I start to say. Dang it, that hurts... I make a typo.... or my feet walk out of my flats... Or whatever. I remember to thank Goodness that I'm here and able to experience whatever it is..

      When I was starting out at 62... I filed for Social Security Benefits. The SS person suggested I file for Disability Benefits at the same time - if granted you get your FULL Retirement Age dollars and medicare to help with medical. Wow!!! I filed and was turned down. II filed again and was turned down again. Then on January 25th 2006 I was DX with Ovarian Cancer...... I had hired a lawyer by then, as I really couldn't stand or sit, or whatever, and had been blaiming my back.... Within two weeks they gave me the Disability AND sent me a check giving me the difference of my lower (early benefit) retirement... from the date I'd applied to the time disability was granted. A tidy sum.

      I get wordy... sorry!!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • derbygirl's Avatar

      I'd take that as positive and if you have any doubt's then talk with your oncologist . Communication is key so don't be afraid to tell the doctor that you have questions, fears, doubts etc. As far as trying to get a job, I know exactly what you mean. My doctors told me not to work not mainly because of the ovarian cancer but because of a serious heart problem I'm also dealing with. I still went on interviews and when I told them about being off dealing with 4 surgeries in 6 years, they were empathetic but I still wasn't given the job. One even was honest and said that my health could effect the cost they pay for medical insurance. She said having me on the payroll was a liability even though she admitted that I was highly skilled and had an impressive resume. I am trained as a clinical assistant and am a certified EKG technician and phlebotomist and I thought medical professionals would respond differently. Even when I applied for disability, per my cardiologist, I was told I'd probably be denied because I don't look sick. The past 5 years have been tough financially but I keep going and that is what you have to do. Keep going, keep thinking positive, and keep living.

      over 3 years ago
    • sunshinemb's Avatar

      I thank each and everyone of you. I have been trying to see the positive in all this; and well; it's tough but I'm working on that aspect. I agree with the job aspect; have been on many interviews and well; they also call me a liability for the companies even though I passed interviews with flying colors. I try not to get discouraged; so now I'm looking into my own business of some small nature; just something to supplement my income as disabiity is not covering all expenses. I pray daily that the Lord will guide me in the right direction for a future of hope and comfort for us all. I can't thank you enough for the comments and answers; I am truely blessed to be a part of this wonderful community. God Bless you all.

      over 3 years ago
    • LindaD@StF's Avatar

      One of the toughest things about an advanced cancer diagnois is the uncertainty. Most physicians will never say " we got it- it's all gone forever". The results of your PET seem to say that right now there is no evidence of disease, which is as close to "you're cured" as you will hear. The follow up scans are insurance, and good practice. You still get mammograms and colonoscopies, right?
      Some of your symptoms could be late effects of treatment, effects of having your ovaries out (menopause), or symptoms of something else (anemia?) Have you had a full checkup by your primary care provider recently?
      It is tough for employers to understand a break in employment and some see this as a red flag (were you in jail?) Have you leveled with potential employers about your cancer and asked them for a chance to prove that you can be a wonderful asset to their company? Keep trying, someone will give you a chance.

      check out my blog about uncertainty;


      over 3 years ago

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