Monday, April 4, 2011

Continued Chemo Vacation!

My chemo vacation is extended! My PET CT came back clear and my CEA rose a tiny bit but remains in the normal range. This is the best news I could hope for. (Okay, I would hope for a stable CEA level but still, I'll take it.) 

I am grateful and humbled and exhaling again.

This time, the test itself went fine with no trauma, thanks to the happy surprise of having Jubilent Julie, my fave nurse, access my port prior to the test.

Two days after the test, the drive to the doctor's office to hear the results felt a bit like going before a parole board: Would I be granted freedom? I felt physically well, but I know from experience that that is no indication of what is really going on inside my body. 
When I got the news: happy happy joy joy -- I get another four weeks with no chemo, then a blood test. Assuming that is normal, another blood test the next month. Then, a PET CT three months from now.

Thank you for all your support in so many ways. Your friendship, your prayers, carrying the torch of hope when I couldn't, your forgiveness of my social lapses, your support of my wacky truly runs the gamut but is all so helpful to me and to my family.

It is hard to know exactly what is working. I continue my raw vegan diet. I'm doing herbs and tinctures, energy medicine, healing Masses, meditation, prayer, yoga, acupuncture, therapy....I'm sure there is more. I try to spend time with friends who are upbeat and have good energy. This is the best but also hardest to do, given all our busy lifestyles.

With the kids, we are feeling our way as we go, often reminded that our support systems are not necessarily theirs. For example, when we started down this path and A-man was four years old, he prayed regularly, sincerely and with an open heart for my recovery. When I had to go back on chemo last year, he decided that he didn't want to pray to a God who he felt wasn't listening. That led to lots of good discussions about God and Jesus, hopefully helping him to form his own beliefs. Recently, he told me that he is praying to Zeus and wants to go to a Greek church. I don't think those are connected, but, Greek friends: anyone want to take him there?

Last week, picking up A-man from school, he handed me a small piece of wood. On top of this wood balanced a large pile of sawdust. Obviously, he intended to carry this potential mess home. Even worse, he intended for me to carry this potential mess home. He was thrilled with his find so I swallowed my reservations and gingerly accepted the wood / sawdust combo.  As we walked, he chattered away in his typically happy mood, then suddenly informed me that I was carrying magical dust. He encouraged me to take a pinch (of the sawdust) and blow it away while making a wish. And, oh, if I didn't mind wishing for what he wanted, please wish that I get well. So I guess that, in addition to prayers, we have pixie dust.

Besides their coping mechanisms, we are noticing that each of us takes our time time to acclimate to the news that comes with each new report. Tiron and I will hear any news and let it settle for a bit, getting used to it. Sometimes, not always, we'll share the news with the boys. This time, when I told them about the good scan, their response was, "You had a good scan before. That doesn't mean anything." It didn't dampen my enthusiasm, but did show me that they need more definitive, day-to-day proof of wellness in their world. We would all like that, I guess.

So, whether you are sharing prayers or pixie dust, or something else, thank you for continuing it with us.  We all really rely on the sincere connection between us, and for that, too, I am grateful.

Love and blessings to you,