Last weekend I was a hot mess. My anxiety through the roof, my heart was racing, hands were shaking and I felt amped up to the 10th degree. As my mom would say, I was making myself sick. I almost canceled dinner plans with Bill and Carla. I didn’t and felt better Sunday morning, having spent the evening with people I love–time with friends and Blanket is always a balm. Monday I was back at it, just miserable with anticipation and dread. I felt immobilized, unable to make an appointment for a haircut or plan for a trip in April. All the very negative what-ifs arrived at my doorstep in real-time. Being a cancer patient is hard work and often relentless but the days before a Pet Scan are just horrible to get through. The ticking clock is like a bomb but time conversely stands still. By Tuesday morning I had built up my protective wall and wrapped myself in a zombie like numbness as we marched to Dana Farber. I had recently experienced some light-headedness and balance issues that required an increase in steroids so I had a lot of cause for worry.
Although they are seldom late, my NP Jenn and Dr. Rachel kept us waiting for 45 looooong minutes in the exam room. You don’t want to know what a husband and wife talk about in those scary 45 minutes. And finally—-the news! I continue to be NEAD—-no evidence of active cancer after 22 months without any treatment. Mind officially blown!
Now you would expect us to react to this revelation with jubilation. Ah no. We were so over prepared for the bad that we couldn’t process it–it was like that first little crack in the ice that slowly grows and expands until BOOM! Dr. Rachel even used the big C word as in “we don’t know when we might consider you cured at some point”. What did she just fucking say???????? It was too much for us. We barely said anything, hardly cracked a smile. I wanted to be in bed in my favorite pajamas curled up in a ball. We did the next best thing and headed to little coconut’s apartment where I curled up on her couch under heavy blankets in front of the fireplace. Bridget’s reaction was one of laughter, characteristic of her personality. Head coconut cried and was pretty much beside herself, saying “now we can really celebrate the wedding” in between sobs. That’s how we roll.
I don’t consider myself a hero, nor do I want to be one. But for the first time, I feel like maybe I can give other women cause for hope. After the disastrous clinical trial that almost killed me and landed me in the hospital for two months, I thought that was it–game over. To be here almost two years later and planning for a future is hard to describe but if it inspires even one person to take a chance, to jump off the cliff like I did and survive, I will die happy. Hope is all we have left when everything else falls apart.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to every person I know for thinking of me, praying for me, sending good juju and supporting my little family through this crisis and its aftermath. It means more than I can put into words really.
So go be a hero! What are you waiting for?
Much love from the circus!