CT Scan follow-up

26 Jul

I had my CT Scan for my one year post-cancer follow up about two weeks ago. I had my appointment with my gyn onc a week ago. It feels like longer.

I had a chest, abdomen and pelvis scan, adding in the chest because of a cough I’ve had. I assume(d) the cough is from my allergies, but I figured as long as I was going in I might as well just be sure. I was also supposed to get checked for kidney issues–as per my urologist–but it didn’t quite work out the way I expected.

I went in with my forms and told them I was getting checked for kidney stones in addition to my cancer check. This was post-barium-drinking. The woman at the front desk frowned at me and said that the barium screws up their ability to see kidney stones most of the time, so she shoved the prescription back at me. I asked her to go ahead and send the films to the urologist anyway. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this issue? But the urologist knew my gyn onc wanted with and without contrast, so she had to know it wouldn’t be the best view. Besides which, I think she knew I didn’t have stones, but this was a CYA kind of thing. Btw, I never heard back from her after the scan. Joy.

If you saw my ct scan post (linked above), you may have seen my comments on the post. I survived the scan (obviously) with residual pain and feelings of BLECH. I actually got my written report the day after the scan, but without commentary from my doctor. Just the report showed up. It was not remarkable, with the exception of some finding of soft tissue in the center of my chest area, which was declared as possibly “thymic rebound”. WTF is that? I did a NO-NO and looked it up, which actually resulted in very little information. So I messaged my gyn onc, who basically told me to take it up with my primary, as it was outside his expertise. He otherwise called my CT Scan as NED. I am a bit distressed that this scan didn’t mention views of my lymph nodes like the first one did after diagnosis, but I’m hoping that means they were not remarkable (and not that they didn’t bother looking…)

I contacted my primary doctor’s office and she’s out of the country until the end of July. That’s more than 3 weeks away, so I asked for someone else to review the report (because I don’t think they actually get to see the images). The interim doctor said it didn’t look like anything concerning, but I should see my primary upon her return. WTF.

So while I was sitting around waiting for THAT to happen, a relative suggested I get a second opinion on my ct scan images. I didn’t even realize that was possible, but back to Google I went. Turns out there are places online that will allow you to send them your images and have another trained and licensed radiologist read them. I had to pay on my own, but I wanted to get it done ASAP, so I forked over the cash (it wasn’t actually that bad, in the grand scheme of things). After some issues with uploading and getting them the clinical history they needed, they read my images. I got a written report about five days later (including a weekend).

Good news, the soft tissue was “without clinical concern” and was “minimal residual thymus”. The thymus is apparently an organ that is in use only before your immune system is developed, then it shrinks away to almost nothing. Sometimes when you go through chemo, radiation, surgery, or some other major issue, the thymus regrows to help your immune system, then shrinks away again. Since I’ve not had a chest ct before, I guess there was nothing to compare it to. Anyway, that was all good.

You see it coming, though, don’t you?

There is some asymmetric nodular tissue in the right breast axillary tail region compared to the left which is nonspecific.

Unh. I had my mammogram in February, with no notation of issues. I know there was something in my first mammo that they immediately followed up with using ultra-sound. That was then noted in my charts, but it was supposed to be benign. The wording is a bit different on this second opinion report (of course it IS a CT versus a mammo, so…). So I figured it was the same issue as before, but sent the second opinion to my gyn onc anyway, asking if I needed to follow-up somehow. After no response for several days, I sent another message today asking for a response.

The response was, “this isn’t my area of expertise, but here are three breast surgeons we regularly refer to”.

Cue uprising of anxiety and distress. Cue Googling the phrases in the ct report. Cue seeking some place of numbness.

Cancers based in estrogen “travel in packs” said my gyn onc upon my original diagnosis over a year ago. Breast cancer is one of those in the pack. The only history of breast cancer I know about in my family is pretty limited…supposedly my paternal grandmother had it, around 50-years-old, but my dad doesn’t remember details. My mother thought my grandmother had a mastectomy, but we have no way of confirming that.

So I messaged my previous gyno, who is in my area (my gyn onc and his suggested breast surgeons are all at least an hour away) to see if they can recommend someone I can see here locally. It’s only been about an hour since I sent that message, so I haven’t heard back. They might not be interested in responding because I haven’t been back to them since pre-surgery.

I am not having a panic attack. I am anxious and concerned. I am unhappy. I am fearful. And I am angry.

I don’t quite know what to do with myself at the moment. I had hoped writing about it would help. So far, it has not.


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9 responses to “CT Scan follow-up

  1. Bradley

    July 26, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    Doesn’t sound like anxiety or panic to me. To me you sound like a person who has taken responsibility for their health rather than just lying down and accepting whatever they’ve been told and good for you for that.

    I hope all is well.

    • meANXIETYme

      July 26, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks. I just got a couple of local surgeons to call, I just am afraid to make the wrong choice. 😦

  2. joey

    July 26, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    I agree with Bradley. You will choose the right one and it will all be scary and then, okay.

    • meANXIETYme

      July 26, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      I hope so. I hope it turns out to be nothing. I want to hope so badly.

  3. April

    July 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I’m happy to see that you are trying to be proactive instead of waiting for your primary doc. Every time I bring up an issue with my pdoc, I always get referred to a ‘specialist’. It’s as if she doesn’t want to be responsible for the wrong diagnosis. But…..when she does refer me to a specialist, then I begin to worry. I hope all goes well for you. Breathe in, breathe out 🙂

    • meANXIETYme

      July 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      My gyn onc’s office called to say, “The doctor asked me to call and give you this name specifically, even though I gave you those other doctor’s…”
      Talk about panic…why a totally different doctor? I’d already gotten an appointment locally, so I thanked the nurse but didn’t take the name. Shortly thereafter, I got upset because maybe I should have taken the name and gone to the other doctor since he recommended someone specifically. Oh Lord…
      I don’t need referrals, so I rarely go to my primary first if I need a specialist. I go directly to the damn specialist!

      • April

        July 30, 2016 at 8:42 am

        I don’t need referrals either so I take the name(s) my doctor gives me and research the heck out of them. (As much as I can gleen from internet searches). What I hate is when there is something wrong with a joint or bone problem and she doesn’t order an xray prior to sending me off. The first thing I get asked is if I have an xray. That just delays more and sometimes causes more trips to the doctor.

        I will be thinking of you and hope that you get some answers soon so that your worry can be tamed a bit.

      • meANXIETYme

        July 30, 2016 at 9:27 am

        Yeah, I research the hell out of doctors before I pick them too. Wish finding reviews on them would be easier.

      • April

        August 11, 2016 at 11:21 am

        It’s been a while since I’ve been back on the computer….but yes, I wish it were easier to find out more background. Reviews are subjective. I love my primary doc, but the next person may not.


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