Oncology

I am going to start with the best thing that came out of today’s appointment: Unless something comes up, we do not have to make any trips to Iowa City until mid-January. I love having breaks around the holidays.

Kiran’s lab results have been popping up on his mychart over the past couple weeks. His seratonin is elevated. Today, I learned it is not elevated to a level that is concerning and is still in a range seen in a lot of people. But the day that result came up on his chart, I, of course, went to google for more information.

And guess what? What I found out in my google sleuthing is what they are suspicious of with his flushing symptom: Neuroendocrine (or carcinoid) tumor.

But his lab results and symptoms (or lack thereof) are not concerning enough at this point to do much more than monitor. If we did imaging right now, even if he has one of these tumors, it may be too small to detect. They are very slow-growing tumors. There is a treatment for them – it’s more a chronic disease management type treatment, not chemotherapy.

…I don’t attend to those types of details until that’s the path we are on, and we aren’t there yet…

The doctor – who I really liked – also made it clear we may not find a cause for this flushing. It could be psychological or behavioral.

The plan is to monitor for now. Watch for a change in symptoms or additional symptoms. Repeat labs (with a few more added) in January and again in April. If something changes with his symptoms or his numbers, we will move forward with imaging. If six months goes by and nothing changes, but we are still seeing the flushing … we will move forward with imaging.

It is hard that we didn’t really learn anything today. It is hard knowing a tumor is even a concern. And knowing we may have to wait six months to know whether or not one is present.

It’s hard going to the eleventh floor, to oncology. Really, everything about this is hard. I prefer immediate answers. But I like that we have a plan, and I really appreciated this doctor’s thoroughness and demeanor.

This road – man – I don’t even pretend to know where it’s taking us anymore. 2020 has put some bumps and twists on our path for sure. But our people are still ours. And it all matters, this journey we take together.

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