I’m not even sure how or where to begin this post, as I’m still in shock and feeling overwhelmed. Today, I saw my oncologist who read my results from my PET scan. Although there is still a small spot on my spleen that needs to be rescanned in October, the rest of my cancer was COMPLETELY GONE. I did it!
Just to write that statement out, doesn’t really do it justice. Along with viewing my recent scan results, we got a chance to see my initial PET scan from Christmas Eve. I really wish I would have taken my camera out to take a picture of what this looked like, but both Derek and I were kind of in shell shock. Derek choked out an “is all THAT cancer?”..referring to the image of my body on the screen. To which my oncologist admitted that I’m really lucky to be alive. I had never seen the initial scan. I didn’t want to, especially in the beginning. I thought it would just scare me. Wise choice on my part as it turns out. I used to joke that it probably lit up like a Christmas tree……but even that wouldn’t be an accurate description of what we saw today. There was so much cancer present, that the radiologist’s impressions noted that it was difficult to make out the organs. There was not one spot in my body that wasn’t lit up. It amazed me how much was in my bones/spine…my spleen was basically over-taking my entire abdomen….oy. What amazes me more is knowing now that I maybe only had months to live at that point had I not started treatment when I did. And even more than that…would never have even known that I was sick, had we not lost our second baby. Seeing that–feeling what we felt/feel today–it puts a hell of a lot in perspective.
I could tell Dr. C was super happy with the results, and even more excited about my labs, and the massive increase in my white blood cells! When we left her office, I didn’t really feel anything. I was, like I said, completely in shock. I was not expecting this, and judging by the looks on the faces of my onc staff…neither did they. It wasn’t until I got to the car and received a phone call from a dear friend of mine, that the flood gates opened, and they didn’t stop for hours. Unlike a lot of people, I just got a second chance at life. So I better not blow it 😉
After the appointment, Derek and I felt pretty strongly that 11am is a completely appropriate time to start drinking. We went to Fox and Hound–where we had our first date in 2008–and I had a ginormous Bloody Mary. It was pretty amazeballs. When the waitress asked what we were celebrating, I told her. The manager came over–a bit teary–and comped our entire meal and drinks. He shook my hand and said “congrats. God bless you”. And then…shockingly…I cried again. lol.
The rest of my day has been spent answering emails and phone calls from family members and friends, updating them on the status of my appointment today. Aside from that, I have been day dreaming about my future plans with my husband and my son–something that I would never allow myself to do while I was going through treatment, just in case.
Now for those who have asked about that little spot on my spleen…..it was on this scan, but was not on the last one. Although it is very small there is a chance that it shows progression, meaning the cancer has spread. However there is also a chance (I’d say a pretty equal one) that it was so small that it was simply missed on my last scan. There is also a chance that it’s not cancer at all, and simply inflamed cells leftover from my last chemo. Apparently there is a remote possibility that it is scar tissue! There are just so many unknowns which is super annoying. All I know for sure is, If it increases in size at all as shown by my scan in October, they perform a biopsy before I have any more treatment. If it’s cancer, then stem cell/chemo. If it does not increase in size or is gone…..then it looks like October 30, 2013, might be my new birthday. In any case, I’m super happy with the results, especially after seeing where I started. I’m pretty sure Dr. C doesn’t get as many hugs from all of her patients combined, as she does from me in one appointment. But she did whisper to me today that I’m her favorite, and she always looks forward to my visits. And I was all…..um duh! Who wouldn’t?!
Someone told me today that I may never realize how inspiring I have been to people. This is very humbling to me, because as I’ve mentioned before, I really don’t feel strong or different in any way. This is just something that I had to go through–something I had to do. I didn’t have much choice in it. Starting this blog was simply a way to bitch things out that were annoying, and to connect with other people who maybe were going through the same things as I was. I also wanted to keep blogging because I wanted a permanent record for Mack–for him to know that I fought really hard for him, and for his dad, and that I would never give up. By no means did I ever intend to be inspirational in any way. But that being said, I’ve realized over these past 7 months that my inspiration comes from the amazing support I’ve been lucky to have from so many people. So I guess if I have been able to do that for anyone else…well I really couldn’t ask for a better outcome. Today on the phone, I told my friend that I need to do something amazing with my life, now that I have a second go at it. I was only half joking when I said it. Maybe I will never really know what my true purpose is in life, but for right now, I suppose its letting people know that with a little faith, love and support, anything is possible. I’m living proof of that.
And so, “on we merrily go” as some great folks I know would say…..
A few months ago, I blogged about my “one year bucket” list. One year is the big mile marker for remission. If my remission bday is 10/30/13, then if I can make it until 10/30/14 without a relapse, my odds of going on to live a long happy life are great. So I created a “one year bucket list” of things I wanted to accomplish within this next year, just to keep me busy so that I’m not thinking about that one year clock ticking by.
So last week, we adopted a puppy from a rescue center. His name is Tank, and he is totally like having another child. He’s a shepherd/lab mix (we think) and he is a sweet boy. Additionally, today I signed up for the “run or dye” run which is next week on August 10th. I may be wheezing my way to the finish line, but I’ll finish…or DYE trying. You get it? You like what I did there? Too soon for death jokes? ok. A weekend fake family mother-daughter wine trip to the finger Lakes in NY was booked, and we are in the process of FINALLY planning a real honeymoon. Or at the very least…determining where we REALLY want to go, determining how much it will cost, and saving up to take the trip. I’ve decided to ignore my hospital bills while planning all of these things. I don’t want to think about those. It will totes ruin my positive chi happening right now. I am also busily planning my survivor and fake family tattoos. Go ahead and judge. I just kicked cancers ass, and I can kick yours too!
I will continue to post, which may make a few of you cringe, but what the hell? I have all this free time now that I don’t have cancer. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A while back, I mentioned to a good friend of Derek’s who had been working in Dubai, that I had always wanted to visit there, but don’t think I’ll ever have the chance. At the time, I wasn’t sure about my health, but additionally, it really is just too expensive for us. The other day, he sent an email letting me know, that I made it there after all. Thank you Matt. That meant a whole lot. 🙂 (The picture was taken on top of the world’s tallest building, located in Dubai. The burj khalifa.)
I had mentioned this in an email to my friends but neglected to post this on my blog initially…big shout out to my sister Jeanne. A two time cancer survivor herself. She had a biopsy last week for an abnormal lymph node, and the results came back negative for cancer!! Thank you for the prayers!
peace, love and normal cell growth-