Euphoria - 8/21/2009

"I'm sorry, could you say that one more time?"

I had my PET Scan on Thursday and it seemed to go well. Forty minutes of sitting in a chair trying to relax completely followed by 20 minutes in the PET Scan. I left without feeling much emotion and went on with things.

Friday afternoon I received a call from the doctor's office. I figured they were just confirming my Monday appointment. The nurse said she thought I should have good news for the weekend. Still not comprehending what she was going to say, I replied , "..oh, what would that be?". She then told me my scan looked good.

At this point in this "life event", I don't get to excited and believe things right away. I was told by the surgeon at one point that it looked like they had taken care of things by doing the surgery. Oh, umm, no that wasn't quite correct.

So I asked the nurse what did "look good" really mean? Was it that it looked pretty, yet the doctor would need to confirm things Monday? It looked good, but there was still something going on? When you say "celebrate".... celebrate what exactly?

By this point the nurse was getting playfully annoyed with me. She then said, "ROBERT, your scan is as clear as a scan can be". "Go and celebrate". Of course I then responded with ".. so this means after Monday's appointment I would come in for a checkup in 3 months, then six months, then yearly for a couple of years? Is that what is next?". At this point if she had hung up I wouldn't have blamed her. But I'm sure she has been through this before and has gotten my reaction before.

After hanging up, the totality of what she had just told me hit. It hit hard. Harder than I imagined it would hit and harder than anything has ever hit me before. Even the initial diagnosis didn't hit me this hard. I starting crying pretty uncontrollably. It was hard at first to tell people because they couldn't hear me from all the crying.

To have this anxiety lifted unexpectedly (since I wasn't expecting a call either way) was amazing. All the stress of the past four months to be suddenly swept away almost made me collapse.

The past week was a tough week work wise. But I noticed by the end of the week that I felt better and had more energy than I've had in about 2 years. It was the first indication that things might be good inside.

Now my task will be getting back to a new normal. I don't want to go back to just normal as I want to remember what this felt like so I do things differently. Not radically different, just remembering what I'm capable of getting through and applying that to the new challenges that will come along. But I'll probably also get back to normal in that I will quit pontificating about life's challenges and just move on!

Waiting - 8/20/2009

It is 7:40am, waiting to leave for my PET Scan at 9:00am and I don't want to go. I'm not scared of the PET Scan itself, I just want this to be over. Each day closer to the scan I've become more anxious. Part of this is that I want to make sure I do everything possible to have a good scan. There isn't really a whole lot I can do. No food 6 hours before and no strenuous exercise 24 hours before.

During this week I've also had a positive. My hair is starting to grow back. Each morning I look and more hair is on my head. Yeah, this can be considered vanity. Too bad. As I've been pretty consistent so far with my mantra... "I want my hair back"!

Also, I've been drinking Kefir, which is a yogurt type smoothie. It helped get my digestive tract back in line. I was still having heartburn and indigestion 3 weeks after the last treatment. Drinking coffee and fruit juices tend to mess with my digestion, so I've also held back on those.

After my last treatment I had a lot of positive comments from people about being done with cancer. While the sentiments were good, I still had/have the feeling of "...yeah, but it isn't quite over". Do I think the results will be good on Monday? Yes. But I still won't know until then.

What I figured out though is the following:
When you have it, you have it. When you've had it, you never want to have it again.

Basically, once the diagnosis is made, you have it. You go into fight mode and just charge ahead with treatment. But once treatment is over, a realization feeling kicks in, and you never want to go through this again. So my anxiousness is praying/hoping/wishing that the scan results are good. That the doctor Monday says we are going into surveillance mode. Even though surveillance mode still means they are watching to see if the cancer re-surfaces, at least it won't be, "....oh we need to do more surgery or treatment".

My fingers (and arms, and legs, and whatever hair I have) are crossed!