May 26, 2011

Officially Cancer Free - Life is Good!

I simply do not know what to say or even what to think, for that matter -- I am cancer free.  Such a short simple four word sentence.  Yet there is not a football coliseum big enough to contain all that those words represent to me in past history and future that can now unfold.

This morning I retraced my steps from home to the Cancer Center to have a PET Scan of my full body.  Last September, the same technicians and nurses did a scan of my body using this exact same test in the same room with the same huge test apparatus. They determined officially that I had cancer in the base of my tongue that had spread to lymph nodes on the right side of my neck---a lot of them.  Now, 246 days later....Yes, it has been THAT long....with all sorts of thoughts racing through my mind, I re-enter this area of the Hospital complex to discover if I was going to have to once again face the horrors of chemo and radiation treatments.

For weeks, every little ache or pain or flinch somewhere in my body was scored in my brain as a possible indication that the cancer was creeping back.  Only the PET Scan today would settle, once and for all, the big lingering question of my life, "Am I cancer free?"

Of course, they had to totally knock me out again just like the first round of testing months earlier.  Once again, I had understanding and compassionate technicians, nurses, and a great doctor easing me down onto my back in front of the scan machine open mouth entrance.  I few moments of prep and the the doc said to relax....and I was gone until they woke me up to stumble under their assistance to do an hour or two in a recovery room so the La La juice could wear off. 

The results of the body scan had be closely analyzed by the docs so I was sent home to sleep off the effects of the test.   And sleep I did because I had closed my eyes for only a few moments of fretful sleep last night as memories of so much of my cancer treatment rigors crept in and out of my thoughts. Those nightmarish memories more than once made me break out into cold sweats as I lay in the dark trying to will the first streaks of daylight to sneak into the trees outside to signal it was time to go for my test.

I called Doc Q's office a few times during the afternoon to see if the test had been sent over yet without being able to get any news....good or bad.  Finally, about 6P I got the call.  I held my breath as Doc Q's Physician's Assistant told me the test showed I was cancer free.  She said it again and finally asked if I was there because I had not responded.  I was just too choked up to speak as the tears exploded from my eyes. I thanked her from the fabulous news.  I then asked her to please tell Doc Q and Nurse Mary that I loved them as well as her for walling with me through all the horrors of my battle with cancer.  I guess patients do not show that kind of gratitude.....I can not imagine why!....because she was clearly happy to hear this sort of affection and appreciation from me. 

I sat for a few minutes by myself and regained my composure before going to find Lieska.  The dam broke again, though, before I could get the full "The test results came back and I am cancer free."  After some much needed and long awaited hugs and kisses saved for this moment, we went down the hall to give the news to my mother who has suffered so much anguish throughout my battle with the cancer.

And now it is time to pass the news on to all of you....literally thousands of fantastic friends and relatives who have pushed, pulled and prayed me through the biggest adventure of my life.  As I said at the very beginning of this, my motto "True Adventure Requires and Uncertain Outcome" was made just for this period of my life....and how!

Thank you for all you have given of yourself so I can live today.  I will keep you informed of my sloooooow but sure recovery progress.  Hugs and kiss for all....even those ugly Ham Radio buddies.