…..already in progress

(EDIT: In celebration of the news below (I won’t spoil it if you haven’t heard), I’m putting a link to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night, to be held in C’ville in October. Please consider a donation, even if it’s only a few dollars. The site is secure and accepts Visa, Mastercard, and AMEX., I’ve donated through the firm that runs the site on a number of occasions and never had a problem. Click here to donate. Thanks for your consideration, and enjoy the post!)

I never expected that getting the long awaited report from my doctor would be so anti-climactic. Since my scan last Tuesday, I’ve been anxiously awaiting word on what they found. After waiting for a few days, I was able to feel out of my nurse practitioner that the cancer was gone from my neck and that there had been significant improvement. However, she doesn’t have the final say, and my doctor, being part of the medical school faculty and an active researcher, is a busy man. So I had to wait a while to find out just what the course of my treatment would be. My NP informed me that I would find out for sure on Monday.

So it with that in mind that I eagerly picked up my phone after hearing strains of Sweet Home Alabama, which is my ringer when the incoming number is unlisted or private. I was all prepared to talk to my doctor…..when I found out it was my old boss, Todd Gilbert. I’d been wanting to talk to him for a while, so the trade-off was fine, but as you can imagine, I was still a little anxious. So I laid back down for a nap, and the phone rang once more. This time, it was my mother. It was then that I found out: apparently my NP had the wrong number, and she called the house instead. But I finally had my answer: No more chemo.

That’s right. Now, it’s hard for us to throw around the word “remission,” but it appears that for right now we have this thing under control, and my doctor feels comfortable with discontinuing my treatment. Cancer will always be a concern for me, but for the immediate future, all I have to look forward to is a PET scan in eight weeks. It’s then that we’ll be certain that it’s gone. But for right now, I feel great. We have this under control, and right now, no chemo. That is a big relief. I know it’s the cure, but I was getting tired of being essentially poisioned every other week.

As you can tell, I’m being very cautiously optimistic. I still have a long road ahead of me, as the first five years are the most important in regards to the chance for remission. Add to that the long term effects of chemotherapy (increased risk for malignancy, possible nerve, lung and heart damage) and cancer is now a key part of my medical history. But the immediate future looks very bright: I have chemo behind me, and I’m working on graduating this December.

As for this blog, obviously the bulk of my treatment is done. Now it’s wait and see; I’ll be sure to post the all clear. But for right now, naturally, things will be very slow around here. Hopefully in eight weeks I’ll post here for the last time, and I’ll be able to say for sure I’m cancer-free. But for right now, lemme just say: The future’s so bright, I’ve gotta wear shades.

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