July 14th 2011 is a date that will forever be burned into my brain.
Its been 6 months since they found the mass. I've gone through a lot in that short amount of time. Its so very hard to live with cancer every day. It has its way of creeping into your mind and not letting go.
After my last CAT scan I was told that the original tumor in my chest was still there and I would need to come in to discuss the next step.
I already knew what the next step was: Bone Marrow Transplant. My doctor had told me so from the beginning. I was so disheartened when I heard that the tumor was still there. My family and I resigned ourselves to a future we had already lived in our past. I kept having 'flash-forwards" of the coming months which were actually memories of what my brother endured with my face superimposed on his.
After my Cat scan I also requested a PET scan. Once I found out the tumor was still there I felt stupid for hounding my doctor into giving me the PET, but I went anyway.
On the 14th my parents and I went to meet with my doctor to discuss the next step. GULP. I casually asked the nurse if they'd gotten the PET scan results yet. They hadn't. I asked her if she'd make sure the doctor had them before he came in. We waited.
He came in looking at some reports and I waited to hear him say the words I was dreading. Instead he said, "I like what I'm seeing". I thought he was being surprisingly callous. I mean yes the tumor HAD shrunk again but only by .8cm's. Nothing to write home about.
I said, "you are?!" and wondered how I had misjudged him all these past few months. he'd been such a great, empathetic doctor. Now he was just some jerk who obviously had no idea what it was like facing a life-threatening bone marrow transplant!
He went off into a rant of medical terminology that I didn't understand a word of and then he started discussing what my options now were. 1. Observation. 2. Radiation or 3. Bone Marrow Transplant.
I was thoroughly confused. How had my options changed? What good would observation do for an aggressive cancer? "What?"
As it turns out the PET scan showed that while the tumor was still there, it was no longer active. In fact, there was NO activity at all, anywhere. "Complete remission". Those words I understood. I hugged him.
Ever since then I find my self exhaling sighs of relief. Its over. No more cancer. No more chemo. All of a sudden I have a future again. All of a sudden I'm a person again, not just a cancer patient. Its so hard trying to explain what its like when almost your every thought is about cancer or its effects and then to suddenly find yourself free of it! Its incredible. I felt like I was flying.
All those years ago I followed my brother Josh out of the woods time and time again. By the grace of God, I've followed him out one more time.