Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'm at the right place!

As you all know Melanoma has brought upon may tears for myself and my near and dear, but luckily this time they were tears of joy! I continue, as my new mole mate friend puts it, to be a Cancer Veteran.

"Cancer is part of me now. It’s part of all of us who’ve experienced it, whether we call ourselves survivors or continue to grope, as I do, for a word that makes sense of this new place. How can I call myself a “survivor” when I will spend the rest of my life monitored and tested, a veteran who knows all too well that another deployment could be as close as the next CT scan? We cancer vets live daily with our cancer — in the scars on our bodies, the memories of the people who were kind when we needed help, and the way that we can never again take for granted what a gift it is to make plans." ~Mary Elizabeth Williams  

Last Thursday I started my day like all the rest, waking up early, going to work and missing my bed oh so dearly. But in the forefront of my mind, as much as I tried to block it out, I knew.. today is Scan Day! It's the day that may change my life...
Now usually I get my scans done in the morning but with my myriad of doctor appointments, unforeseen hospital visits, yes the occasional days that I feel to sick to get out of bed I didn't want to miss yet another day of work. 
So after work I picked up Joe, went to my mom's, and got our usually taxi driver(AKA my dad) to drop us at the nearby subway station. After a short train ride we arrived at, what feels like my second home, Memorial Sloan Kettering! After a short wait I was giving my chilled "cocktail," which seemed to just not want to go down..ugh! Then I was called in get changed into my lovely gown and get my IV put in. Well we all know how my veins feel about this part of the day, they go running for their lives... Even after all the usual methods of hot water packs, brutal tapping and searching those puppies just didn't want to show their face. So the nurse suggested we wait a bit and a least get me into the scan room to lie down. I truly do feel bad for the nurses that get me sometimes; what seemed like almost an hour later still no luck. Finally, he tried this small tiny vein and bingo we got blood flow hurray! Since it was so small he needed to hand pump in the dye but it worked : ) After the scans I was of course starving as usually so we went and got something to eat and then headed home. I probably got home around 7:45pm and to my surprise 5mins later I get a call from Sloan. My first reaction was did I leave something there? Why are they calling so late. But as soon as I answered I heard the most amazing sound.. The happy and cheerful voice of Dr. Wonder!! He got the results sent to his office and thought I might want to hear the great news before I went to bed worrying. SCANS ARE CLEAR! I literally wanted to jump through the phone and kiss him.. He gets it. He gets what its like to be on the other side of things and this is why I truly love my team! 

Then this past Thursday I was back to my home away from home with momma in tow for my 6th Ipi/placebo treatment. I was sad to see that my favorite assistant, AK, was transferred to a different Dr. but everything after that went very smoothly. I was able to get and IV placed right away with no problems, vein in hand was working great, 12 vials without even breaking a sweat(yes I do mean from the nurse)! Then I was sent in to meet with my team. But this time I was the one about to ask all the hard questions. They started off of course by congratulating me on my scans and asking about Joe and my wedding plans, about my birthday and snowboarding. Went it got to asking about how I was feeling a got out my list of questions.. Starting with simple, was this or that normal, showing them by rashes, talking about my last urgent care visit and then I got to my last question...

The question that had been on my mind from day 1 but I think now I was finally ready to ask it. I needed to know more about statistics, I needed to know about life expectancy, in the long run, and not just 5 years, I needed to know if it was even a possibility that I would have a chance to grow old, and probably the most painstaking for me, I needed to know are children realistically part of my future. 
Because lately, and I'm not sure if this is just a coping mechanism that I adopted but I have come to terms with some of these issues. I have almost in a way accepted the fact that my life is not going to be a long one, and the dreams I have always had for my future are not a reality anymore. And I was, as difficult as it is to even type these words, Ok with it.. 

However, my Doctors were NOT. They told me yes no one knows your future but there is no reason for us to think at this stage that you will not and I quote, "get away with not having to deal with the joy of wrinkles!" They would not whip out a statistics chart because they simply don't believe in them. Instead they gave me a pep talk!!! Haa "a pep talk" that was not the answer that I wanted... but wow it sure as heck was the answer that I NEEDED!!  In terms of child birth they feel it is still an option, and one they would like to revisit after my treatment(in 2 years). Adding in today's day and age there are so many possibilities in that area. And if that wasn't enough they introduced me to a fellow mole mate in stage IV, who is at the moment on a clinical trial that has her cancer free!! She was honestly such a breathe of fresh air and an extremely inspiring person. Finally I was off the chemo suite to get my injection, which also went extremely smoothly. 

I left there with a new perspective.. you just never know what great things are to come.. And hope is always an option!

As my mom has written.. 
"I just can't say enough about her Dr. and his team. We are bonded as a family and we have so much trust in them.  They really show how much they care. They cry with us, they laugh with us, they give us a hug when we need it, and always share their heart. Their personal treatment and their professionalism makes our tough journey so much easier." 

So true mom.. so true!! 

I have been exhausted these past few days since my treatment but even though my bed as become my new best friend, I just hear the simple words of my fellow warrior friends saying.. ITS WORKING!! Love u all : )


  1. I am soooo happy to hear that it is working and your scans your clear! That is awesome babe!

  2. And it is....working! Happy to hear of the clear scans. Keep em coming! Yes, your life views have changed, how can it not? And it's perfectly normal to want to hear "those statistics", but as my daughters doctors have told me many a time too, those numbers are not your daughter, she is unique, she is Anais, not a number...and so are you! Placing yourself in a number does nothing but hold your mind down. Right here, right now, that's all that matters. We people in the "cancer loop" understand that more than the others. And that's a gift! Carpe Diem!