These past five months have been the longest stretch with no attention to my cancer in the nearly year and a half since this adventure started. I had a CAT scan last Tuesday and the results are…all clear! The appointment with my oncologist was snow-cancelled but he did call to say that the scan showed nothing suspicious. Praise the Lord! I met with him this morning and I will be on a six-month schedule for the next couple of years. He also agreed to have my chemo port removed – in the hopeful belief that I won't be needing it anytime soon.
Moving from getting scanned every three months to (almost) six was progress but certainly anxiety-producing. It's a little bit like waiting for the sentencing phase after a conviction. And thank God, this time again – I have been spared! I could tell myself heading into it that I am fine, based primarily on how I feel. That would be conveniently ignoring the fact that I felt fine for most of the time that the cancer was growing inside me last time.
The continuation of clean can also lend credibility to alleged cancer-avoiding behaviors I've adopted like – a couple of green teas daily, lowering stress, restarting my meditation practice, minimizing the intake of fat/sugar/white flour and other underminers, etc. On the other hand, one could argue that the culpability factor is a little less pronounced in the instance of a recurrence – meaning that if you are susceptible and/or have it in you, such is your fate. Who can know?
I am also reminded of my feelings of helplessness from 14 months ago. A few weeks after my surgery, I felt powerless considering the possibility of not having any chemo or radiation to do. That would mean just hoping and praying and waiting. That's been pretty much what I've been doing since finishing up my chemo last July. I have been tending to more functional aspects of my body and health instead, like fixing broken teeth and achy feet (planters fasciitis). Some of the mundane self-care tasks that are only worth doing for those that are counting on being around long enough to see the payoff.
So, now, with the clean scan result, folks have been congratulating me. I appreciate the sentiment in the sense of a cause for celebration. At the same time it leaves me searching for a response since I did little (nothing) to deserve the congrats. (I actually looked up the word congratulations to find that it is "an expression of pleasure or acknowledgment of somebody's success or good fortune or on a special occasion".) Good fortune it is then! I don't pretend that slightly cleaner living, green tea and a good outlook on life are keeping the evil cancer away. Instead, I recognize that it is the power of prayer that gives me strength and, most importantly, the grace and goodness of God that have kept me here. For the former I have many of you to thank. For the rest, I can only thank God – that his master plan includes having me around for a while longer.
I look forward to having all of my "cat" mentions refer to the feline persuasion for the next six months.