Saturday, May 10, 2014

Six Months

I wanted to write this post before my meeting with my oncologist Friday, thought about how I'd construct it, whether it would include a photo of clinking champagne glasses (or, possibly, God forbid, a slew of obscenities), but I didn't want to jinx myself. I mean, sure, I felt great, but what if he came into the exam room and told me it was time to change chemo? After all, he'd done it before. Spoiler alert: this time he didn't.

What if I'd written--in black and white, where things become real--a whole scene of how I wanted the day to unfold, only to have my heart broken? So I held off on writing until I was certain, until I'd heard the words straight from my doctor's mouth: "No cancer." At which point, I hugged the poor man.

My scan was clean! My scan was clean! My scan was clean! 
Also, no destructive bone lesions, which is good.
Then I had a celebratory lunch with my dear friend Sandi who went with me to my appointment (because Chris couldn't make it this time) and tried to will my frazzled nerves to calm the heck down. I think it took about six hours until I didn't still feel like I was going to vomit from the stress of this appointment. Mental note: I have got to figure out a way to not do this panicked, angst-y routine every three months. If you have suggestions that go beyond Xanax, please let me know.

Nothing changes in my routine: I'll still go in for blood work every week, still have infusions of this chemo every three weeks, indefinitely. I've been on Kadcyla a year now; my blood counts look relatively normal and the other side effects are mostly manageable. And my oncologist is of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp. As much as I'd love to not have to have chemo interrupting my life every third week, it is huge safety net for me. Which is a good thing to have when you're walking a cancer tightrope. 

This scan is my third clean one in a row (holy smokes!) and marks six months of no evidence of disease  (NED) for me. I was asked the other day how long I'd been in remission, and I didn't really know how to answer. Based on the National Cancer Institute's definition, I'd say NED equals remission, so the answer is six months, although nobody in my cancer world seems to use the term remission anymore. Is that unique to me? To breast cancer? Either way, I'll take it. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Caroline! I feel like I've been slowly exhaling for ten days now...

  2. Amazing. I'm so relieved & happy for you. That's such great news!

    1. Relief is such an underestimated emotion -- and it does feel amazing!

  3. oh, Jen! I am thrilled for you - clean scan!!! celebrate the heck out of it; and a very Happy Mothers' Day to you!

    much love,

    Karen xoxo