Another positive story
SCC, right tonsil and lymph node, large 3cm+, stage IVb, 35 radiation doses and seven Cisplatin infusions stopped after five doses.
Friday (yesterday) I went through a PET scan again.
This is the one closest to two and a half years after diagnosis for me.
I was all clear. No metastasis anywhere to be seen. NED
But I'm not writing to brag. I'm writing so there is another example of another guy who has seen another Christmas three times already and looks like he'll see at least a fourth if a meteorite doesn't get me, first. I am told that this scan is "one of the biggies" and is a very fine omen. I was absolutely as freaked-out as a man could get. I was sure I was going to die. Like Charlie Brown at Halloween, I often "...got a rock" and I really didn't expect more.
I wouldn't have thought of myself as being particularly tough, either, but the medical folks all told me that I am.
Those of you who are just starting this whole thing should know that there are those of us who make it this far (and much, much farther) and many of us mostly recover with the exception of those little permanent changes you get to live with; exquisite little inconveniences, they are. (I have my fluoride trays in as I type)
Every time I go for a scan it is frightening and a little nightmarish. It's a bit like climbing the steps to the gallows, sticking your head in the noose, and watching the hangman pull the level on the trap door under your feet. (okay, so now you have to imagine lots of dry ice fog around the base of the gallows stairs and a bony hand from underneath a robe pulling the lever of despair) Is it going to open this time? Sometimes our imaginations just really run away with us. I know full well that even IF I had lit-up it's not a death sentence and people (someone I knew, actually) might live 30+ years having defeated this stuff three times.
I've been gaining weight, feeling good, my labs are steady (not great, but steady) and I really was less worried this time than any other. However... my poor spouse...she starts to melt down every time. It is objectively true that she'd be fine without me (I mean money-wise, etc., so the anxiety really is about watching your loved-one die of this stuff). She works in healthcare and "knows too much" and it just about kills her every, single, time. Honestly, watching her worry is more frightening than the scan routine and waiting for results.
So for anyone reading along that may be newly diagnosed; many of us do reach NED status and stay there for a long time. I personally believe it has been worth the trouble. :-)
But it is also worth remembering that it can be really hard on others, too.
The key is to; breathe, put one foot in front of the other, and be nice to those around you. Believe it or not, there are people having a worse day than you are.
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