Thursday, January 24, 2013

having cancer...feeling safe

I told Joanne in an email today that I enjoy going to my chemotherapy appointments. I had to think about why that is.

All of the professionals I see are concerned for my welfare: the research nurse, the social worker, the oncologist, the radiologist, the nurses. Everyone wants to know how I'm doing and what they can do to help me. It's comforting.

In the same way, I like the exercise class. They take my blood pressure, my pulse, my weight. They want to know if I have any pain, they ask if I have any pain, or if my medication has changed. A nurse comes around as I exercise to take my pulse again and to ask how hard I'm working.

Normally, this would be irritating. It would feel intrusive to have someone all up in my business every minute but in the scary world of cancer, all of this makes me feel safe.

I've been obsessed the past few days with the word remission. I want to know if, at the end of my treatments, I will be in remission or if I will be cured. I know it probably doesn't really matter but yesterday...and today, it matters to me.

I've read that doctors rarely talk about cures with cancer. As long as there is a remote possibility of the cancer coming back, even many years in the future, they consider your cancer to be in remission...not cured. Too bad. I like the sound of cured better than remission.

My oncologist told me that my tumor is the lazy kind. I can't remember what it was that indicated laziness as opposed to aggressive, but he seemed to think it was good news. It might come back, but it might take fifteen years.

Now that I've swept that worry from the dusty shelves of my cluttered mind, I can move on to other things.

I also look forward to treatment days because they have little packages of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies in the treat basket. Life's small pleasures.

1 comment:

Marie said...

some day you need to visit with my dad ... a day after his 12 hour "remove the cancer and replace the tongue surgery" .. he jotted a note .. "cancer free?" and has never looked back....