My friend Rosie just celebrated her third cancerversary. Congrats Rosie.
My own “cancer-free” status, has just passed the five year mark–kind of. After a surgery to remove the tumor in December of 03, I had a PET scan in February of 04, that showed clear results. There are a couple of reasons for my uncertainty about my actual status:
First, I do not keep track of dates in so organized a fashion as Rosie, so am apt to let days be just like other days…except that sometimes I will have an exceptionally emotional rollercoaster day, and a day or two later I will think, “Oh, this is right around when I was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Maybe there’s a connection.”
The other reason for delaying the “all clear” bell is that this year I have had a hard time scheduling all my annual scans. Although I intended to have them all done in December, they are actually starting next week, with a colonoscopy on Tuesday, an ultrasound the following week, some blood tests when I can remember to fast and can find the referral, and maybe even a CAT or a PET after that, just to mark the five-year occasion. (A CAT is one of those things that the doctors really want to do every year, but I prefer not to be bombarded by the radiation so often.)
Interestingly, it was Rosie’s cancer that was my introduction to blogging. After her diagnosis, she began her blog. At first written to keep family and friends updated on doctors reports and how she was feeling, it transformed into the riveting and ultra-honest “Someday We’ll Look Back and Laugh.” I had read random blogs before this, often about topics that came up on google searches, but hers was the first that I can remember faithfully checking several times a week.
What is coming up, on April 7, is the 3rd anniversary of this blog. In my memory, inspired by Rosie, I began it after my father was diagnosed with his second colon cancer, but looking back, I see this isn’t true. I had started the blog a few days before I received the call that he was in the hospital. Since I had just set it up, it seemed a practical way to give information to several people at once. My earliest posts are long descriptions of written from my parents’ place in Sarasota.
So I guess it’s appropriate to mention here, that I am once again in Sarasota. My father has once again been diagnosed with a re-occurrence of cancer, this time of the pancreas. He is not in the hospital, as they are not recommending surgery, but for the first time in his life, scans have revealed secondary sites, which the doctors are treating with chemo-therapy.
Sometimes I am tempted to to dive deeply into the day to day…to think my mid-term grades and my next fifteen pages are worth the stress I invest in them. In fact I cannot resist this–it is the life which goes on. But I am pressed by constant reminders of what it means to live “with” cancer, of how it can always pop-up, whether with family and friends, or in my own genetically pre-disposed body. Despite my desires to put it at a distance, cancer and I have a relationship. I can’t remove it from my friend list on Face-book. We’re in it for the long haul.