I have a love-hate relationship with CT scans. One the one hand, they give us some information about the contents of Rich's abdomen. On the other hand, they give us really sketchy information about the contents of Rich's abdomen. At times, I feel like we are reading tea leaves and that radiologists are just modern medicine's augurs.
Rich now gets a CT scan every 12 weeks during this portion of the trial. Previously he was getting them every six weeks. We've actually been getting CT scans pretty regularly for three years now, and every time they show little to nothing. The one exception was when he got an abscess and his belly swelled up overnight like he was 8 months pregnant. That was kind of a "duh" scan results, though, in that he obviously had a lot of fluid in there versus having swallowed several dozen capsules of those "magic grow" animals.
Rich got a CT scan this morning. The results are "without significant change" and "unremarkable". He has two lesions that they measure to compare. One is on his liver and went from 63x22mm to 70x22mm. The other is just a mass on his right side that went from 112x69mm to 116x62mm.
Let's take a minute to talk about what a millimeter is. There are 25.4 millimeters in an inch, which is about the width of your thumb (approximately). To get an idea of 7mm change in lesion size, an iPhone 6 is 6.9mm thick (without a case). If you still have an archaic iPhone 5, that model is 7.6mm. Now remember, though, we are not measuring pieces of lumber. We are measuring images of slime in a torso. What two points on the slime did the radiologist use? Was Rich lying in the same position today as he was 12 weeks ago? Did he fart during the scan? Putting a lot of weight in these numbers is just not my gig.
Each time over the last three years a doctor has told us what is in a CT scan, it's been wrong. Not necessarily worse, just far from the whole picture. So I read each of these results with a big ol' grain of salt.
When we have no numbers to work with per se, we have to go with other metrics. How does Rich feel? What can Rich eat? How tender/tight/hard is Rich's belly? Even that is very subjective. Physically, Rich is doing pretty well. It's been an emotional slog this last year, though. There is no statistic for feelings as far as I know. So we just keep on keeping on.
My optimism cannot be measured.