It has almost been four years that I have traveled this journey called cancer. I have learned a lot, gained a lot and lost a lot. I have cried a lot and smiled a lot. These past few months have been a roller coster of emotions. We are coming into what I want to call the longest year. it is the year that leads up to the bench mark of five years. Why is five years so important? Five years marks the spot where statistically the odds jump and are in your favor. A whole bunch of statistics start to be in my favor.
For patients 45 and younger (barely make that one) my survival rate goes up to 78% after the five year mark if I don't have a relapse. In fact that went up at the two year mark, but I didn't want to celebrate too much!
For patients with an agressive NHL (which I have) the survival rates go up and relapse go down after five years.
(Now it should be noted that scientist and doctors use the 5 and 10 year marks as a marker but it gives patients hope and a gauge for recovery.)
So here I sit within two months of my four year mark--August 2013, and I'm looking back at the journey I have traveled. What a journey. I'm not ready to close the book; I don't think that will ever happen until there is a cure, but I'm ready to face this next year. One that is full of anticipation and trepidation for me. Every blood draw has a heavier sign of relief. Every scan is dreaded even more. "What if they find something?" is a question I ask.
Well, I had my end of the three year scan and it did show something. I have a node in my right pelvic region that has grown just a bit. It went from 1 cm to 1.3 cm. Now that dosen't seem like a lot, but it is 30% bigger than it should be and that is a LOT. I know I shop for sales that are 30% or more!
The first scan was back in March and then we did another scan the beginning of June and it showed the growth so I went in last week for the all telling PETCT scan. (This is the one where you are on a high protein diet--no carbs-- and then you drink a sugar drink--GROSS!--then they shot you with a nuclear medication and then they scan you. The nuclear medication will go where there is cell growth and it will "light" up the screen. Well the results are in and the screen lit up on a very little bit. Doctor Kraemer isn't alarmed just yet and he wants to just watch it and scan again in September.
I'm not sure if that is a sigh of relief I just let out or a sigh of "not again". Anyway, I can move forward with my life.
I know many of you complain about the mundaneness of life, but enjoy it; there are far bigger worries out there.