Wednesday, January 21, 2009

CT scan is clean!

Yesterday was the inauguration of Barack Obama, our new president and a symbol of hope and renewal for our country. The changeover occurs at noon, whether or not he has been sworn in.

Yesterday, I had my six-month check-up appointment with my oncologist to get the results of my CT scan. In the waiting room, I met a man, his wife and brother. The man was in the first third of his treatment for colon cancer. I could see myself in him, last year at this time, and I could feel the difference in myself from then till now.

At five minutes to 12, I sat with my husband and oncologist in her office. We commented on how we were missing the inauguration, then she told me that my CT scan showed no sign of cancer. YAY!

We talked about other things -- the results of my blood tests, my continued low white count, the little and thankfully unchanged things they see in my lungs and thyroid, and kids. Always kids -- a neutral topic that somehow connects some of us.

And then, we left, with a new lease on life and a new president!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Ms Radiation

My periodontist requested a full mouth x-ray. Just a routine thing -- they like to have new ones done every three to five years.

So I called the dentist's office to schedule it. The conversation went something like this:
"You don't need to make an appointment. You can come in anytime tomorrow," they said.
"No problem. I have a CT scan in the morning, but I can come in the afternoon. Just drop by anytime?"

Why on earth I mentioned the CT scan, who knows. Why would they care? But good thing, because the response was,
"Oh, we don't like to give you too much radiation in one day."

Yikes. I hadn't thought about that. Well, I did, but chose to ignore it, filing under the necessity of modern living.

"Okay....hmmm..." I looked at my calendar. I now wanted some distance between those two appointments. "How about early February?"

"Sure. February 5th?"
"Oh....I have a mammogram that day." What am I, Ms Radiation these days? This is kind of scary.
I think a bit then say, "This isn't urgent. Let's just do it in March. I'll give you a call."

Wow. Between all these tests, I'll be radiated from my pelvis up. Would it be called a "healthy glow"?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Anticipating my six month CT check-up

So, my CT scan is coming up. This is my six-month check-up after finishing chemo. I have the scan next Tuesday. Then the following Tuesday, Inauguration Day, I meet with my oncologist to get the results. In fact, my appointment is at 11:30 am, just about the time of the inauguration! I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful new phase for all of us.

This weekend, I started to obsessively plan trips. I'm not someone with wanderlust, so this isn't normal behavior for me. After recording every day off, long weekend and school vacation between now and April, I became a woman obsessed with planning places to go and things to do. I specifically wanted places that were fun, interesting, different, and potentially non-refundable. On top of that, I found a blank spot in my schedule and committed to taking a course this semester. Because, if I plan these things, there is a future, right?

I'm realizing that planning these trips is my coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of any upcoming tests. While I can often pretend that cancer is behind me, the next few weeks contain vivid reminders that I live under a bit of a cloud. There is my CT scan, and the follow-up appointment for that. Then, my mammogram (yup, still doing those!) and my follow-up for that. The good news is that these are all in a span of a few weeks, then it is (fingers crossed, lotsa prayers) back to life as usual.

But for now, I'm trying to drink lots of water so that they can more easily find a vein to get blood out, contrast in. I'm trying to relax. And I'm eating lots of chocolate!