Six more months until a big change!
As time has gone on and the oncologist appointments have gotten further apart, I have gotten more comfortable with living and being well. We went from scans alternating with blood work every six weeks, to 3 months, then alternating scans and x-rays every six months. Last November I asked if we could spread them out to a year and I got a big no for an answer. But that changed last Thursday.
My chest x-ray and blood work look good and I feel great, so I have my last scheduled scan in 6 months, then I will only see her yearly for chest x-rays. A dream I didn’t even dare to dream came true. My doctor cried, hugged me and classified me as a miracle. In 6 months I will be released to yearly check ups. Yes, I was happy, relieved and all that good stuff.
So many people said I must be thrilled and asked if I was going to celebrate. Yes, but it’s not like that; it’s not that kind of celebrating.
Last fall my newly licensed teenager got into a terrible single car accident, completely totaling my SUV and taking out an electrical box. But the car didn’t flip over and she didn’t get stuck on the transformer; truly amazing. It is unbelievable that she could walk away unhurt. I think I walked around in a daze for weeks saying a gut felt “Thank you, Jesus” like it was a mantra. But did we celebrate? No, we were all completely traumatized. I’m still a wreck when she is out driving, and especially when the phone rings.
It’s a different kind of celebrating, maybe described more as a deep gratitude. There are no party hats or cake for either of us that says “Congratulations on not dying!” Somehow saying “Whoo hoo! Yay! You survived something horrific,” doesn’t quite seem appropriate. All we are saying to both is “That is incredible. Praise God.”
Mother’s Day was a little rough on the whole family yesterday, especially on the older kids . I almost expected it. We have been living in such a heighten state that now that we can take a breath, the trauma of it all is sinking in. For years the Mother’s Day activities have always had a sadness to them because of the possibility of it being our last with me here. There was just too much pressure to make the day one of the best. I’m not sure when that got old, maybe it was around year 3.
It’s so common to have to stop and take a breath when someone finishes a round of treatment or even finishes treatment for good. I used to call it “sitting on a rock thinking about what to do next,” like Winnie the Poo does.
Metastatic Breast Cancer has no cure, but I have been NED for 5 years now. In 6 months I will be with the under 1% who “beat” it, we are too small of a group to even have a percentage. There are not enough of us to even be considered 1%, it’s only when I really press the top oncologist that they admit they have seen one or two of us. I am the only one my oncologist has seen and she has been practicing oncology for over 25 years. Coming in so far below 1% we can’t even form an “occupy oncology” group. I just need to sit on a rock now and think about what to do next.