Posts Tagged: good news

Jul 12

Great News

No, not really Baby related (still pregnant….39 weeks + 3 days and counting….) but great news nonetheless. Last week I had a visit with my oncologist (I wanted to touch base with him as I had missed my January–which is when my regularly scheduled once-a-year visit happens–appointment due to a scheduling snafu). I went into the office feeling strange. What a world of difference for me, now, as compared to the me back then. The “ill” me. I remember clinging to Adam’s arm, feeling a sense of dread as I entered the building. The anticipation of the needle poke and the drugs and the feeling as I left, already pukey and exhausted beyond belief. This time, I entered with a spring in my (pregnant) step. I have hair, I have my health.

I had more than one person (a receptionist, my oncologist’s assistant) tell me that I had “made their day,” just simply by being there, being healthy, being the me I am today. I am humbled by this.

So the visit goes like this:

My oncologist, Dr. Kass, comes into the room, smiles broadly, and takes a chair, pulling it up to me so that we are face to face. He is jovial. We chat briefly about my health, Adam, other things. He says, “I love being proved wrong!” When I look at him quizzically, he reminds me that at our last visit we had discussed fertility and his belief was that my fertility was most certainly compromised by the chemotherapy drugs that had been used during the course of my treatment. We discussed moving on, being content with what we have. The beauty and wonder of Anna, our one and only. And, yet, here I am, a year and a half later, with such evidence of new life! We laugh. I ask about the future, about visits and checks and scans. He nods, understanding my need to have a plan, a schedule, an understanding of what to expect.

Then he looks at me and gives me a speech that I hope I never forget. He tells me that, yes, it is his job to follow me closely, to be on top of my health and to be watchful and mindful, knowing that I am unique for having had cancer. But, he says, as far as he is concerned, he considers me a survivor. He considers me cured. He has utmost confidence that my number one priority, at this point, should be being a mother, a wife, a friend, a healthy young woman who has the rest of her life to live.

“We’re not going to do anything crazy during this time, while you are pregnant, while you have an infant, while you are breastfeeding,” he says. “Call me when things settle down a bit and we can chat. Let’s worry about scans later. Right now, just enjoy everything, enjoy being here.”

We stand, smile, hug, and part. I feel light, like there is light pouring from my heart center, from my chest, from the place where my cancer used to be. I feel radiant, and young, and healthy and released. It is a gift, life in all of its forms, and I feel lucky to be here, lucky to be alive, lucky to be me.

Jan 11

Just like everyone else, except with yearly radioactive PET scans

Today I had an appointment with my oncologist which was notable in that I had a mini-physical with him (something that, to the best of my memory, has never happened). I mean, the first time I met the man I was laying in a hospital bed with several huge masses in my neck and chest (the big one on my neck was obvious from several feet away; the ones in my chest had been confirmed via CT scan). I was obviously sick. There wasn’t really a point in feeling that thing on my neck because it was JUST THAT HUGE. And then every time I came in, it was all to deal with that stuff. And then those masses went away and we talked about fatigue and nausea and hair loss and then other scans, talked about my pancreas, talked about my lack of cancer, about hope and getting stronger and mental health and parenting and life. But I didn’t have a physical until today. The physical was a prerequisite of my health insurance which suddenly went, Hey, wait. We’ve paid out for a hell of a lot of medication and yet the doctor hasn’t really touched you. Maybe that should happen first and then we’ll let you get another four rounds of Rituxan. Yippee!

So today the doctor felt all my various lymph nodes (normal) and felt for other lumps and bumps and out of place things on my body (none) and concluded that everything looks pretty darn good and that I would finish out the last of my every six months for two years Rituxan as planned and then…..get a PET scan once a year (for forever, I assume?). And be diligent, once it is time to be diligent about such things, about mammograms and colonoscopies and reporting anything unusual like enormously swollen lymph nodes. But I feel, once I’ve made it past these next four weeks, like I’ll be as close to a regular, normal, 34-almost-35-year-old life as I am capable of. Just like a normal person, except with yearly scans to check for cancer (what? You don’t do that?).

So. That’s pretty cool, right?

Jul 10

Farewell, this week. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Every single day of this week has felt like Friday. Not in a good, TGIF way, but more in a is-this-week-still-dragging-on?-kind of way. Like, every single day I’ve thought, “it can’t possibly still be NOT-Friday!”. This week has kicked me in the ass. Repeatedly. And it sucks.

I know, I know. I received good news–great news!–today. News that my scan was “normal.” Oh, good. Yes. I am relieved. Another reprieve, it seems. Another 6 months before I worry myself sick again. But it still doesn’t erase it all.

It doesn’t erase the deaths. This week, already mindful of Kenny’s death in such an immediate way, especially as I wrote a memorial piece about him, I was completely devastated by the news about Anna’s dearly beloved teacher, whose baby–not even 6 months old–died. This beautiful, charming, totally healthy and perfect baby, whose dimpled smile shone from her elfish face, whose body I held many times upon picking up or dropping off Anna (because I just cannot stand to NOT hold a baby, goodness knows). Gone. Just gone. SIDS. I cannot see a single shred of good in this death. Not even a “oh, she touched so many lives” or “her spirit will shine forth” and definitely not a “well, we will see her in heaven some day.” This was a life too brief and though it was not my child, I found myself waking countless times these past couple of nights, waking with a silent scream in my throat, racing to look at my breathing child. It’s the most horrendous nightmare for any parent and, for a woman that I know and love, her nightmare happened. I just can’t fathom it.

Saturday we will attend a memorial for this sweet baby girl.

Sunday we will celebrate my sister’s birthday (sorry, dear sister, that the celebration of YOU is sandwiched between such sadness).

Monday I have chemo in the morning, followed by funeral and memorial for Kenny.

It all feels like so much, the emotional burden too great to bear. I find myself grown quiet and thoughtful these days.

Adam has been swamped with work this week and, though I understand and appreciate that that is what he has had to do, I’ve missed him. I don’t feel like I have had adequate time to process everything that is going on.

I find myself hoping that Anna will not see only death around her, but the beauty also. Beauty, where are you? Oh, life, please linger near us for a bit. We need you here.

Jan 10

“It all looks good,” so why can’t I let it go?

Home from my PET scan (worst IV insertion ever today with blood literally dripping all over my arm, soaked through dressings, etc). I was incredibly anxious (and hungry, stupid fasting) but felt a little more calm after I took an Ativan and settled in (while the radioactive isotope dripped into my vein) with the latest People magazine (confession: there is something somewhat soothing about reading about the trainwrecks of celebrities’ lives). I did my usual and dozed on and off throughout the 45 minutes it took once in the radiology room (the CT is quick, but the PET takes a while; so long, in fact, that there are moments of terror: “Have they forgotten about me? Left me here, in this tube, all by myself?”).

My oncologist’s assistant called me within minutes of my return home. “The doctor will go over it with you in greater detail tomorrow,” (my appointment) “but he wanted you to know that it all looked good. It’s good.”

Me, stupidly, “It’s good?”

With great care and patience, the assistant replied, “Yes, it’s good.”

“Whoa,” I said. “That’s good. Ok. Ok. Thank you. Goodbye.”


I have to steady my hand a bit on the wall. Can it be true? Of course I spin elaborate scenarios of confused results, doctors not wanting to scare me but wanting to break the news slowly and gently in person on the morrow. No. No. It’s good. It’s okay. We’ll hear the details tomorrow, but for now: it’s good.

I’m breaking out the champagne. Why the hell not? Good news is good news. Life is worth celebrating.