I thought of beating around the bush and drawing out the suspense…but really, I’m too excited…
By: Robin Harry
Oh glory hallelujah, I’m in remission. Remission, remission, remission. I keep saying it over and over hoping it will truly sink in, but I haven’t really wrapped my head around it yet. I can finally, definitively, use the past tense. I HAD lymphoma.
I’m now going to attempt to get a grip and describe how the day actually went.
I was at the hospital at 8:15am to get my bloodwork done. My appointment was at 9:00am with my haematologist, Dr. Matthew Cheung (I’m putting his name here because perchance he should read this, he should know I think he’s awesome). He began by talking about my PET scan, and said that the scan didn’t show any areas of elevated glucose uptake, and that the CT part showed some scar tissue where the cancer was. So he saying all this, and even though my science-nerd-brain knew exactly what he was saying, I needed to hear him say it. So I asked, “soooo, what does that mean?” He then said I was in remission. Remission! I spent the rest of the appointment trying to wipe a really goofy grin off my face. And failing miserably.
He explained that I will be followed pretty much for the rest of my life, but I can live with that. That’s life with lymphoma. Barring any setbacks, I’ll be seen every three months during year one, every four months during year 2, every six months during year 3, and after that it will be once a year till year 10 or so, when I start doing tests for secondary cancers (a hazard of cancer treatment). Apart from that, I am DONE.
The rest of the day was spent in a happy daze at work, saying quick prayers of gratitude, calling/emailing/texting family and friends and telling all my coworkers. People’s reactions were overwhelming, but in a good way – the support that I had was ever so visible. High-fives, hugs, shouts. I watched one person that had always been a rock to me break down in tears of relief. My brother likened it to having asthma for months – he could finally breathe. My parents’ phone bill will likely be through the roof – I’m surprised major news outlets don’t know. Honestly, I’m just so relieved I was able to tell good news for a change. I was content to see people happy.
So I think I’ll try to make sense of the emotions tomorrow, and what this all means in the grander scheme of things. Never before has my life been so clearly demarcated by one date on the calendar. But for now, I’m just gonna enjoy this.
April 18th, 2012: Yesterday, I was a cancer patient. Today, I’m a cancer survivor.