Sep 23, 2012 - 12:04 pm
I may be bragging or maybe I'm just incredulous and relieved, but today marks 1 year since my surgery, and I can hardly believe it! I won’t have my 1 year scan and follow-up with the surgeon for another couple of weeks, but from what he said at my 6 month appointment and how I feel now, I’m doing well, Thank God.
It’s been an emotional year, of course, for a variety of reasons. At my very first appointment, when he was just going over my diagnostic tests and making his initial recommendations to us, Dr. Morse told me that doctors are rarely comfortable using the word “cured” for cancer patients, but he was confident that after my surgery “you’ll be as close to cured as anyone can be.” Pretty much exactly what I was hoping to hear, so I liked the guy right off the bat! lol But that was also when the roller coaster ride started, as I was up after that appointment, then nervous/scared whenever I thought about the surgery itself, then up again thinking about being recovered, then nervous thinking about the path reports, etc.
And now, 1 year later, I feel pretty good and am doing pretty much everything I did before the beast invaded my life, but still I’ve found that it’s pretty much impossible to forget that I have cancer. It doesn’t scare me the same way it did at first, and according to all the docs who are taking care of me I may well prove to be cured. But that’s easy for them to say, and they’re not the ones worrying about that stray cancer cell that may have been missed and right now might be lurking somewhere. I don’t dwell on it, but it’s there somewhere in the back of my mind pretty much all the time, and I think cancer has an emotional component that is largely understated in what we read and may only really be understood by us who have the disease.
Here’s where I am physically now, 1 year later:
Speaking of poor Don Reed, let me say that it was an honor to meet that great guy, and to see what a wonderful family and wonderful, caring friends he was fortunate to have. He was failing by the time I met him and he was under no delusions about what was happening to him, yet he did his best to express his appreciation for my coming to visit, and to contribute to conversations as best he could. As close as many of us become on these online forums, Don was the first EC patient I’ve met in person, and it was a moving and positive experience for me. The thought that I might have brought him even a little happiness during the worst time of his life gives me a great sense of warmth (and more tears!). Judy introduced me to their CBG friends as a guy who had the same cancer as Don, and they were really curious about that, which gave me the opportunity to talk about EC, reflux, and the importance of getting scoped. And I keep thinking that if just one of them takes the message to heart, it lends some meaning to Don’s suffering and makes my little trip that much more important. But I think that what I got most of all from meeting Don is that I now take my recovery and my incredibly good luck (lucky to have cancer? WTF?!?) even more seriously than I did before. I told Judy and the CBG’s that I didn’t understand exactly why the ride out to Michigan on the bike (875 miles in 2 days, each way) was so important to me – but it was – and Judy suggested that it may be exactly that: to show me how fortunate I am, to make me take my recovery more seriously, and to reinforce the importance of spreading the word about EC and preventative measures, to maybe help others not have to go through what we did.
So that’s where I am at now. I wish I wasn’t here talking about something I hadn’t even heard of a little over a year ago, but here we are and I know and appreciate that I’m doing pretty damn well, all things considered. I try not to be a pain in the ass about it, but I take every opportunity that comes up to encourage people to talk to their doctors about indigestion, and especially about reflux, and to insist on having an endoscope at some point, exactly like they have a routine colonoscopy at age 50 or whenever. I plan to be a good patient and to be here every year celebrating another anniversary. I don’t pray, exactly, but I think about everyone on these boards a lot and I try to send positive energy their way. This is a wonderful community we have - despite the spiteful Greta - and I feel blessed that my wife found it the day after my diagnosis. God bless us, every one!