The Cancer Journey: No Regrets only Thanks
Reposted from denisetam.webs.com February 2, 2011 Happy Bunny Year to all!
It's been a while since I've checked in! I hope everyone is doing well and will have a happy and healthy Chinese new year!
Last Monday I went in for my check up, for a PET scan to be exact. My first PET scan after treatment had stopped! I felt confident walking in, I knew that they'd find nothing. The process altogether was smooth other than the extra few minutes the nurse had to take to find my poor veins that have shrunk and hidden in fear of the poking needle.
After almost six months of being needle free, the needle has become foreign again and the fear is back! Fear of the needle is a good thing, everyone i presume fears the needle. If you don't fear it, it probably means you're used to it, and last year I was poked on average 3-4 times a week (excluding trial pokes) which numbs you both physically and mentally and fear no longer is an issue.
So, after about four hours of waiting for glucose to travel through my body (they inject glucose into you) and many cups of water and trips to the bathroom, I was set free and back to live my life I had been living for the past few months- cancer free, healthy, happy, busy!
Friday I went in to see Dr Liang, who has now moved to the Sanatorium but continues to lecture at HKU. Like any other consult with Dr Liang, I walked in expecting to walk out within 5-10 minutes (we pay a lot of money for a 5 minute chat with him). But this wasn't the case.
Before I scare you, my scan was fine other than something small they had found- a gland in my pelvis that was reactive (in other words it came up in the scan)
So I sat there, listened to the possibilities of what this could be and the options I have (for me there was only one option!)
Possibilities of what it could be:
1. just an inflammation of a gland
2. the cancer coming back
1. bone marrow biopsy: which of course I laughed (literally) and said "no thank you" and thought "not in a million years! (hopefully)"
2. monitor it and go for another PET scan in a few months time
3. go for the two years maintenance treatment Dr Liang had advised earlier
"monitor, wait, it's nothing, just an inflammed gland, you'll see in the next PET scan"
My initial and current thoughts about it is that there's nothing to worry about, but sitting there for that 30 minutes or so, confronted by a world class oncologist and three other medical students telling me that the possibility of it being the cancer is very possible (no numbers given) and that because I'm so young and because my cancer was more aggressive than what is typical and that it was found in my blood, 'the cancer WILL come back, it's just a matter of time and when..."
What a pep talk heh?!
So yes, I was discouraged, I was disappointed, I was scared, and I was brought back to the day I was told I had cancer. My confidence in that 'clean' scan had disappeared and I just sat there with a smile on my face (the only reaction I could have other than show fear) listening to my doctor tell me about a new drug that has come out that supposedly a lot of people are trying out (has medication become a fad?). I declined the offer, walked out the door and went to visit a friend next door that was getting his first dose of his second time at chemo.
On my way to the hospital that afternoon, I received a text from him which was odd since he lives in Manila and only come to HK for treatment and follow up checks. I thought he was just here for a routine check but later found out his leukemia was back and had to do chemo to get him through until April when he would have his bone marrow transplant. He and I were treated both by Dr Liang at QM, had the same surgeon and kept each other company during our hospital visits or wait rather. He was probably the only person in HK that was going through something similar to me that I could talk to and confide in, so hearing that his cancer had come back didn't necessarily give me much hope after I got the results back from my PET scan.
Nonetheless, I saw how God was working. I had missed my appointment with Dr Liang on Thursday (I NEVER miss an appointment, for those who know me, I have everything written down, and this appointment was never documented!) and so I re-scheduled for the next day. It just so happened that this friend was having his first dose of chemo that SAME day and that he would be having it at the SAME time as my appointment (his chemo was only 45min-1hr which is VERY short!). It really is a miracle and by God's grace and perfect timing that we were able to see each other. I took it also as a confirmation that he wants me to use my experience to encourage others and just 'be there' for others.
I expected to be the cheerier one of the two, but he sat there telling me he had no regrets for postponing his bone marrow transplant (he was supposed to get one a year ago, but because he responded so well to chemo he decided against it) because he could spend his past year watching his son play 'football' (he's british, so for the Americans and Canadians, he means 'soccer'), picked up 'golf' and even have an over the top celebration for turning the big 5-0 (a birthday he thought he wouldn't have).
This made me think back to the past few months and I truly thank God for the health he has given me so I can go to work with my parents every day, set up a support group, attend my sister's wedding, and so much more!
So today, I look back with no regrets for declining the maintenance treatment and I look ahead not in fear but with hope.
Just one little request I have is for prayer for peace and that the fear of the cancer relapsing will not take over.
Thanks for reading to the end and I wish you and your family a happy and healthy Chinese new year!
With love and blessings,