This is not the post I thought I would be writing. I went in for my three year scans the same way I’ve walked into the last one, no anxiety, no worry and feeling good. Unfortunately, that did not last. I was supposed to have my results appointment two days later but received a call from my NP only hours after the scan telling me there was a suspicious spot on my liver and my tumor marker number has increased for the first time since surgery. I ended up meeting with both my surgeon and medical oncologist two days later. There is disease in me. I have cancer again. It’s very localized, on my liver. The good news is there is no evidence of disease anywhere else in my abdomen. I wast told I would have to either start chemo again or do surgery again or both. I received a lot of info and was told to think about it and was given time. During that time my case was discussed at the tumor board meeting with all the doctors.
I had no idea what to do. I was spinning. For a long time after my surgery I said I would never have another surgery. Ever. Of any kind. That was such a horrific experience. I’m no longer adamantly opposed to surgery and when I hear my surgeon describe another one, it is scary, but I trust him so much that it seems like a reasonable option. I also do not have fond memories of chemo but not horrible memories. Although, I really don’t want to lose my hair again. I know that’s still not something people understand. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING TO ME ABOUT MY SHORT HAIR. Nothing. I don’t care you liked it or think it looked good. I don’t want to hear it. That is still not relevant to my feelings about losing my hair.
I got further and further away from it all. I got healthy and strong, and have been living my life to the fullest. In the last three years I have been to Italy three times, Portugal, Paris, Costa Rica and back and forth across the US. I’ve celebrated weddings and births. A lot happens in three years. I’ve gone hiking, kayaking, ran another half marathon, ran another Ragnar, loved running, hated running and decided I don’t have to prove anything to myself anymore. I started working out with a trainer again and have gotten really strong. No one would look at me and think I have cancer or went through what I did.
While waiting for the phone call after the tumor board meeting, I decided I didn’t want to start anything until after I went to Florida and spent time with my beloved nieces. I am terrified at the overwhelming number of appointments that are in my future. Instead of knowing nothing I now feel like I know way too much about appendix cancer. It is allowing me to plan a lot better this time.
I still have such an amazing healthcare team. They listened to all my requests and I didn’t have to start treatment until after Florida and they are allowing me to do my chemo on Fridays as requested. I will be doing two months of chemo and then be scanned again. The possibility of another surgery is still out there, but for now I will continue to work out and stay as strong as possible during chemo. I can do this and I will do this.
People are already asking me what they can do. I don’t really need anything right now. And for the love of everything in the world do not send me a coloring book. I will literally light it on fire. I had to promise my dad I wouldn’t do this in my house but he otherwise did not discourage this act. I never want to see one again. Things I actually need: house cleaning, snow removal, treating me normal, book and/or streaming recommendations, positive thoughts, a plumber to fix my stupid shower, the American health and employment system to not suck so bad. (I don’t qualify for FMLA at my new job because I’ve been here less than a year so let’s hope I don’t need that surgery any time soon.) But really, I plan on continuing to live my life and still not allow cancer to consume it.