On vacation

You know when you go on vacation and at some point near the end of it you start to inevitably think about the amount of work piling up, the emails you’ll have to wade through when you come back to reality? That’s how I’ve sort of been regarding this breather since my last round of chemo. And my MRI scan done last Friday would show me the status of how I’d left things: would tumors grow out of control like unattended projects, or would the cancer magically shrink and go away on its own?

The answer to this is: something in between the 2 scenarios. Depending on how you see things, the results from the scan is either a disappointment or a relief: the good news is that my body has been able to keep all of the current cancer in check for the last 11 weeks I’ve been off all chemo. Luckily I got the equivalent of “no one realized I was even on vacation” over the past 11 weeks.

The not-so-good news is that a new “tiny” (my oncologist’s word, not mine) tumor has emerged in my liver that’s about 6mm in diameter, the size of a small pea. So while it’s mostly good, and my oncologist is happy with the status, it’s not much progress in my eyes — but then most of you know I’m my own harshest critic. No matter; I’ll take the mostly unchanged status quo over opportunistic rampant cancer invading my body while the defenses are down. I’ll take that every time, and I hope I get at least that in the future.

What this scan also shows me is that my cancer isn’t aggressive, so I have time to make decisions about next steps without having to worry about this crap overtaking me while I’m waiting to begin next treatments.

Since I’m cleared for embolization, I’m waiting to be scheduled for my first procedure, which is expected to happen probably later this month. The other 2 will occur in short order after that, and I should be done with those operations by… the end of July? Not sure, with the way things seem to be going; who knows when I’ll be treated? All I know is that I’m in much less of a hurry to get back to radiation / chemo than I was 3 months ago. I’m probably looking at more low-grade chemo in the fall to maintain control over whatever cancer is left after I complete nuclear testing within my liver.

So now I wait for the appointment that begins the next course of treatment. Thank you for your continued support, thoughts and prayers. It’s tough to keep up support for loved ones with cancer, as the journey ahead seems to get longer and longer every time I think about it, and it’s a lot of energy to maintain. Much love to all of you who visit here, I cherish the energy I get from you; it keeps me strong and I doubt this past scan would have been as positive without your help.

I’ve accepted that I might be having to live with this for quite some time… an attitude that requires less emotional intensity extended over many months ahead. It’s a realization over which I’m not beating myself up anymore. I’m not being defeatist, as I’m still committed to fighting this to the end… but I need to continue to pace myself. I need to ‘put away’ thoughts of my affliction sometimes and keep enjoying each day as it comes, because that’s all I really need to do. It’s all that any of us can do.

Time to hit the beach next week, something I haven’t been able to do since Easter 2014. I’m so excited — I’ll see you when I get back!