Encouraging News…Finally!

I just came back from talking with my oncologist. The biopsy did not find any cancer. There’s a small chance that the biopsy missed the tumor but those odds are very very small since they had no problem imaging it during the biopsy. What did they find? The found a fat deposit. That is not great but sure is a lot better than cancer!

Also, before the consult, I read the radiologist report from my most recent CT scan and compared it to the report from the scan that uncovered that 2nd cancer. Both scans reported the same mass and no change in size. I asked my oncologist whether the cancer was gone or not. He told me that usually the mass doesn’t go away but is pretty much dead. He also told me that the VM protocol has a 90% success rate (if one survives it like I did). The last thing he pointed out is that my CA 19-9 counter was falling. It was almost half of what it was before the protocol.

This is something I have to get used to. We don’t know if there’s cancer until we see it. In my case there’s nothing to see…maybe for a long, long time!

I really can’t describe how happy this has made me feel. I was preparing myself for bad news over the last 2 weeks. It built like a weight even when I managed it. I was steeled. I was ready to slog ahead. Now it might be a different slog but not in the same class of oppressiveness. I broke out into laughter a few times on the way home.

Well, what a development! I am in the process of setting up an appointment with a liver specialist, probably near Thanksgiving. We’ll also set up a new blood draw and a CT scan for the same day. I’ll get the exact date before the end of the week, and for once I’m in much less of a hurry.

Details

How the heck did I get a fat spot on my liver? Well I did a tiny bit of digging just before writing this post and the article I read on WebMD. It ran down the basics of “hepatic steatosis” or “fatty liver disease”. By the way, this is just me leaping to a probable conclusion but I will not be certain until the liver doc gets involved. First and foremost it could not be alcohol related. I have not had a spot of alcohol since a single 1-shot drink that I had in June, a few weeks before I started on that VM protocol. The article listed these possible causes, which I’ve marked as not-me and could-be:

Possible CauseNot-Me or Could-Be
Overweight or obeseCould Be – But actually I have been under 200 lbs since June and back then I had no spot on my liver either.
Insulin resistance or type 2 diabetesCould Be – My sugar numbers have been consistently high but below the official type 2 diabetes levels. So maybe.
high levels of triglycerides or “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, or low levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterolNot-Me – I’ve been good for years.
I’m olderCould Be – Well duh!
Polycystic ovary syndromeNot-Me – I have no ovaries.
Sleep apneaCould Be – I have it but have been successfully using a CPAP for years going on decades. I sleep like a rock, so I doubt it
An under active thyroid (hypothyroidism)Not-Me – Hmmm, I don’t really know but I have no symptoms of it, so I doubt it.
An under active pituitary gland (hypopituitarism)Not-Me – Another one I don’t really know, but I have no symptoms, so I doubt it.
MalnourishedNot-Me – Nope.
Lost weight rapidlyCould Be – Yeah really, this could be a major cause. Between July and August I lost nearly 40 lbs over 25 days while going through the VM protocol. I was at a low of 178 lbs and am back to around 185 lbs this morning.
The timing is consistent. I did not have a spot on my liver when I started that, and we only found the spot as I finished the protocol.
Exposed to certain toxins and chemicalsCould Be – I grew up in NJ. I worked at all kinds of marginal jobs throughout the 1970s including ones using questionable chemicals, but if those things really affected me I’d point my finger at causing the pancreatic cancer, not a fat blob on my liver.
But of course the whole point of chemo and especially the chemo used in the VM protocol is to expose me to exotically toxins and chemicals, so yeah maybe.
A metabolic syndrome: A mix of conditions that makes it more likely to get type 2 diabetes and heart disease. With metabolic syndrome, one would need to have any 3 of these conditions:Not-Me – I seem to have only 1 of 3 required to have this. See details below.
Large waist sizeNot-Me – 36 inches at my heaviest, down from 38 inches 2 years ago (Levis sizes, not tape measured)
High triglycerides or LDL cholesterolNot-Me – See above.
Low levels of HDL (good) cholesterolNot-Me – See above
High blood pressureNot-Me – The darnedest thing about this whole cancer ride is that a couple of months into my first treatments in 2019 my blood pressure went down to normal ranges. It had been marginally higher before that but not enough to trip any alarms.
High blood sugarCould Be – See above