Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 was one year, six months, 12 days and about 20 hours from the day that Dr. H. broke the news to me that the surgery wasn’t a complete success because the cancer had already spread to my left lung, making me “stage IV”,the final stage in the game. I know it was as hard for him to tell me as it was for me to hear. Last Wednesday was a day we were both really looking forward to. It was the appointment where he got to tell me face to face that after a year and a half of intensity and hoping, that I was completely in the clear. No more chemo, no more cancer~ Of course, I already knew that. He let his nurse, Jackie, call me as soon as the results came in the week before. I don’t know who was more excited in that call, her or me, but I remember her asking me if I was sitting down and me beginning to panic and telling her that people generally say that when they’ve got bad news…”does my voice sound like I have bad news?” she replied. No, it sounded more like she had the best gossip scoop ever and was sooo dying to share it with me. So, I sat on my exercise ball and let her break the news and we both cheered and laughed and smiled and I think she is still smiling.
Working in Oncology can’t be the peppiest job out there in the medical field. It must be tough to have to focus on such daunting things. I for one was really glad to give them something to smile about. I hope the book gives a lot of people something to smile about and to aspire to. I was talking to Miss Anne (the head nurse) the other day and showing off the first copy print of the book and she affirmed the belief that so much of the outcome has to do with having a positive outlook. Of course, there are no guarantees, but there is plenty of proof that stress and depression are not good for one’s health and well being.
This day was about my moment with Dr. Helton. He is a sweet-natured fellow and not exactly bouncing off the walls with energy like I am, but it was clear he was happy. We had our hugs and then we went over the details of the good news report. Then, we talked about insurance. I got a surprising letter from my HMO recently stating they were dropping the SD cancer center from their network (no cause listed). They’re an HMO and the people of the SD Center pride themselves on giving every patient the best treatment possible. It’s not hard to figure out why. It was alarming news and meant that we had to re-think timing on when the port would be removed among other things. After you’re done with chemo or on a break from it, you need to have your port “flushed” once a month so that…well, I’m not sure at the moment. I don’t know if that’s chemo brain or I just never paid attention. I’d say it’s so the line to the vein doesn’t get clogged. If I’m wrong, I’ll come back and adjust my answer. Anyway, it needs to be flushed every four weeks and if my insurance doesn’t cover it (and then there’s the probability that my Cobra Insurance is running out soon) and he doesn’t know who would care for it (if anyone) then we decided to remove it before the change. I’m not looking forward to it. In part it’s become a sort of badge of honor and a valid reason to see everyone at the center on a regular basis (I do really miss them all), but mostly because the implant was so odd. I’m sure I won’t feel that way now that I know how the procedure goes, but at the moment this is how I’m feeling about it. That, and another colonoscopy (yippee) before I’m officially done and ready to return to the working world. What will I do next? I do wonder…
In the meantime, I’ve got a long list of side effects that need to be addressed and resolved and part of that is to not sit for more than an hour before getting up, walking about and stretching, so off I go~