Cancer survivors were not playing when they said scans can create insane anxiety. It's not just the day of the scan, either. For me, my focus was on it for an entire week in advance. Why am I so tired? What is this mysterious ache? Oh, what a fun time for a lymph node to respond to the first round of a Pfizer Invader. This headache can't possibly be a result of monitoring 4,392 pieces of legislation for work...like five of which are even necessary. (Sorry. It's true).
It's a mind fuck, there's truly no other way to present that. There is a healthy level of post traumatic stress that comes from going about your daily life and BAM. An ER doc throws your world out of orbit and you are facing your own mortality. That kind of experience makes you question anything solid on which you've ever stood. And that includes thinking that what was seen as a successful surgery means you're in the clear for now.
I am in the clear for now (yay). My chest (this type of cancer hop scotches its little ass right toward your lungs) looked great (that's what he said!) and another tumor doesn't appear to have taken up residence where my other one lived. I mean, how the hell could it, we cut out everything to which it could have attached! My labs are reflective of a 40 year old who just had major surgery, went back to work and workouts way too soon and needs to eat more spinach.
I am so very, very, very lucky. I want to cry at how lucky I am right now. Which is another mind fuck. I feel so fortunate that my body is navigating this and is fighting to stay healthy. My eyes well up with tears at how excited my family and friends are at this progress. But if I'm being honest, I obsessively find and track the journeys of others with my or similar cancers and my heart aches. Some of them are on very painful journeys. So much more painful than I can even imagine right now. I watch their wins; I compare myself to their losses, which is a very unfair thing to do; I see myself in their faces when they are raw and honest on social media. And I now know that no words beyond, "I'm here for you if and when you need it; let's do this together" provide much relief to them.
I know this isn't my usual funny blog post about cancer. I'm kind of mentally exhausted with making sure people know I'm ok and that I can bounce back to my usual social, available and overworked self. I'm physically exhausted because I know that one of the main reasons I survived this first boxing round was because I was active and healthy and I'm terrified of not being that way again. Mostly, this week threw me off. I really didn't foresee the idea of a CT scan turning me into a human vegetable by Friday morning.
Where does this leave us? Every three months will be spent in the Kaiser Roseville Interventional Radiology Unit for a while (holy COW that place is efficient!). My brother and I are making sure they are scheduled in the afternoons so he and Ben can whisk me away for drinks afterward (Bill is a NP in their ER). There's really no rhyme nor reason as to if and when something will pop up on those scans. I just live and love between them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the support so many of you have shown me. It's kind of neat watching the various response mechanisms of my friends and how they show their love or concern. I'm so very lucky. <3