Honestly, I’m still in shock.
Yesterday I was tested to determine whether or not the 24 rounds of chemotherapy I received over the past six months were successful in eliminating the cancer remaining in my body after surgery.
I had prepared myself for a “thumbs sideways” result (something between a thumbs up and a thumbs down). I fully expected to be told there were some questionable spots that would need watching, and that we’d just have to wait and see.
Normally I hate “wait and see”. Post-treatment, however, my expectations had lowered to the point that I would gladly have taken a wait and see over a clearly negative result. And – positive visualizations aside – I never allowed myself to even think I might have actually have a clearly positive result. I hoped. But I tried not to go there. I tried not to set myself up for disappointment.
So they took CT scans of my chest, abdomen and pelvis, and also checked my CA-125 cancer marker. The official results were that there was “no CT evidence of residual or recurrent disease”. And that “Specifically, the nodule…posterior to the transverse colon described on the prior exam is no longer present“. Also, my CA-125 level had finally dropped into the teens at 18.6, after being at 244.3 pre-treatment.
I couldn’t have asked for better.
After the results were in, my dear friend Jill texted me, “Moo has a mom”. This hit home for me more than anything I heard yesterday (and I heard some fabulous things…it’s a wonder that Facebook didn’t crash yesterday).
Moo has a mom.
I realized recently that, over the past seven months, I had been trying so hard to shut down my brain any time that it started to go in the direction of “what if I’m not there” that I wasn’t allowing myself to picture a future with me in it at all. I wasn’t allowing myself to picture being at Maggie’s kindergarten graduation. I wasn’t allowing myself to think of growing older with Mark. I was willfully staying mentally stuck in the present, not allowing myself to think beyond the next few weeks, be it something good or bad.
I did not allow myself to think of my marriage or motherhood in the long term.
Well, that is already changing. I actually feel a little giddy with possibilities. I feel like I just got out of prison after thinking that I had a life sentence.
Now, I know I’m not totally scot-free. My oncologist said that I have a 50% chance of the cancer returning. And I will be checked every 90 days for the next two years and then every six months after that. But for now, she says she’s ecstatic. And so am I.
My primary hope (after the hope of no recurrence) is that I will never again become complacent. That I’ll continue taking care of myself, and even more and more so. And that I’ll continue to appreciate every single day as the gift that it is, even more and more so.
I have been given a second chance, and I don’t intend to waste it.
Everlasting love and thanks – SOOOO much thanks – to every single one of you. I do not think I could have gotten through this period without you. I am so, so blessed.