Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Breaking Up With Barium

tip: never show up empty handed to an onc appt.
No more scans.  According to my main man, Dr. Henry, I have been overscanned already.  And especially now that there has been deliberate discussion (June 2013 ASCO Conference, Chicago) on the topic of post-treatment surveillance, the oncs across the land have determined that past the first year, the likelihood of finding a relapse thru xrays is unlikely.  They have found that more relapses are discovered through reporting of symptoms and/or bloodwork.

Will I never see my onc again?  Nah, not bloody likely.  I still have a few more years before using the "c" word.  Even writing about my chances of a relapse makes me feel like I'm tempting fate, so I won't get into the numbers game.  I will continue to go for checkups every 6 months.  These visits include running labs (the oncology vampires are consistently diurnal) and reporting symptoms.

But no more scans.  No more scanxiety, no barium, no waiting for results.  Hopefully forever, but I'll be happy if we can just say for a very long time.  This is big.  It's strange, it feels even better than my first clean scan.  Of course those results were a big relief and that was a joyful day.  But, I am close to 3 years out of treatment.  I am ready to be DONE.

From where I stand today (okay, let's be honest, I'm sitting on the couch), it's often hard to believe it happened.  If it weren't for the scars, the tattoos, the infertility, the shortness of breath, the dizziness, and the fatigue...  Okay, my life is definitely different.  But my hair has grown out, my brows and lashes have returned, and most importantly my adult acne continues to plague me (what? chemo = clear skin).  It appears to me that I once had cancer, but do not anymore.

To celebrate the fantastic news, my appointment-partner-in-crime (mom) and I went to HipCityVeg for a quick lunch, and now I am waiting for my challah dough to rise.  I'm ignoring the fact that the car needed $1000 of new brake pads and the dishwasher will cost more than $200 to replace the panel.  This is part of life.  And I am living it.

no sitter on a saturday night but that's ok
On a side note, I seriously feel the need to extend my deep deep gratitude to so many of you who have supported and encouraged me through the past 3 years, even if only by reading my blog anonymously.  It has not been easy and I'm not the most flexible girl in the world (especially for those who live with me).  To imagine having survived this crisis without the team is impossible, and I hope that when you need me, that I can be a member of your team as well.  I am quite grateful that when I reached out, so many reached back.

Wishing all of my TMM members a very happy and *healthy* 5774 (OR a prosperous 2013-2014 school year).

Much love,