The results are in, and the words of the day are: Cautiously Optimistic.
It's not a perfect scan, but it's not complete crap, either. (And in this body, like I could ever expect to hear the word, "perfect", anyway? ... Please.)
I have some new tissue growth in the area where my left kidney would be if it was still there. The good news is that there isn't a whole lot of metabolic activity in that tissue, so there's a good chance (a very, very good chance) that this new tissue is scar tissue. I will show you a picture of my recently glowing guts:
The new tissue is marked by the little white arrow, just to the right of my spine. As you can see, it's pink, but it's not glowing. This is a good sign. (Note: that's my liver that's lit up like a Christmas tree, and it's okay that it's looking like that. Apparently, livers have a high metabolic rate, so they always light up with the radioactive tracer. ... Deep sigh of relief.)
The organ just to the right and above the new tissue is my pancreas. ... Most people's pancreas is on the right side of their body. Mine fell over the hump and into the cavity in the left side of my body. My liver's also crossing over into what is now unused territory. (It's usually contained on the right, but a good third of mine has moved over into the area my spleen used to be in.) So much for having no guts on the left side of my body. Those little buggers seem to have a mind of their own, and they're migrating. .. Crazy!
You can see some lights on the far right of the pic. That would be my colon. There were little hot spots like that through my colon, all the way across. They're most likely due to recent trauma (aka: surgery) and it's still in recovery mode. ... Or maybe it was "processing" something at the exact time of the PET scan. (That's right. That was absolutely another poop reference. ... Listen, if it's between poop or cancer, I'm gonna vote poop every time.)
This afternoon, I met with my surgeon's nurse practitioner (Dr. G is out for... wait for it... surgery). Amanda's opinion is that the good doctors will most likely view this as another Wait, Watch and See mission, that they will continue to scan me every 3-4 months and look for any changes that may develop. Dr H was out of the office today at a seminar. I have an appointment to meet with him Wednesday morning. There's a chance that he may want to biopsy the new tissue to see what it is, but my gut's saying that they'll just leave things as they are for now and re-scan me in a few months to see if there've been any changes.
Like I said, it's not a perfect scan. ... But I wasn't expecting perfection, and all things considered, it's not bad.
The truth is, I'm glad to know that there's something in my lower back. I've been waking up with "kidney pain" on that side for a few weeks now, and was starting to wonder if I was a crazy person (or, you know, experiencing that "phantom pain" one hears about), since I didn't actually have a kidney there to be causing any issues. I've had scar tissue there from prior surgeries, and it's not fun to live with, but one can live with scar tissue. Cancer, on the other hand... not so much.
I'm also glad to know that my organs are migrating. I'd had a total freakout moment last month when I was lying in my bed with my hand on my stomach and realized... WHAT THE CRAP... there was something in the left side of my stomach. Earlier this summer, I could feel an obvious difference in the way my stomach leveled out when I would lie down. (Right side - full of organs. Left side - dipped in a lot more.) That my pancreas and liver have moved on over, and that I have a healthy amount of (probable) scar tissue in there explains why I'm not feeling (and I'll say it... seeing) a literal difference in the sides of my stomach anymore.
I'll post more information as I have it (look for an update on Wednesday, after I meet with Dr. H), but for now, the buzz words are "Cautiously Optimistic". Halle-freakin-lujah!