I got a second PET scan* on the 19th; and the results were basically the same as the one I’d had four months ago: the cancerous lump hadn’t gotten any bigger, and there’s still no evidence of any spread to my lymph nodes. It’s possible that I might have to get another biopsy of the lymph nodes just to make sure; but the last I heard, the biopsy guy didn’t think it would be necessary. We’ll see how that goes.
Assuming that I don’t have to worry about the lymph nodes, which the oncologist I saw today said he thought was highly likely, I’ve decided on radiation and chemotherapy.
I’m told that the radiation will be something like a dental x-ray, except that it’ll take about fifteen minutes during which time I’ll be immobilized inside something that they’ll mold around my body. IIRC, there will be three treatments on separate days, and I’ll be able to drive myself home after each one.
The chemo will be more complicated: three treatments on consecutive days repeated three more times at 21-day intervals. This would bump into my trip to Hawaiʻi in November by a day or two; but the oncologist said that he could work around that. He also said that, although some folks do get nausious from the drugs that he’ll use for the chemo, very few do; and I should be able to drive myself home after those as well. That’s important because the flip side of there being no one who depends on me for anything is that there’s nobody whom I can reasonably ask to drive me to and from the hospital and then take care of me after I get home. (This will be an issue if I need another biopsy since that requires general anesthesia; and so I’d need to be admitted to the hospital overnight for observation. I wouldn’t mind that except for the boredom, but it seems wasteful to me…like I was hoarding a hospital bed for what would likely be no good reason.)
If there are no lymph node issues, and if the radiation and chemo work as expected, both the radiologist and the oncologist assure me that I should retain sufficient independence and cognitive abilities to continue serving on the ISO C++ committee through next year at least. That’s good news because next summer’s meeting in Stockholm has fallen through, and I’ve made an offer to host the committee next June or July.
I feel a whole lot better now that I have a plan.
*This was basically like a CAT scan except that they shot me up with radioactive sugar; and the cancer cells said, “OOO, FOOD!” Unlike a CAT scan, I had to observe a low-carb diet the day before and not eat or drink anything except water after midnight the day of the test; and it took about 45 minutes of my just lying around to get the sugar distributed around my body.