Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The other day, at my latest visit to the Cancer Center, I was discussing side effects with my team: my oncologist and a couple of nurses. They had me define what I mean by terms like “indigestion”, “heartburn”, “constipation”, “migraine aura” so they can quantify the severity for their records and compare them to other patients. Since I’m in a clinical trial, my chart gets reviewed by a lot of people, and they need to maintain clarity and consistency in their record-keeping.
After a while, my doctor got up, hugged me, and told me she loves me because I’m boring. I’m fairly certain she wasn’t commenting on my personality, or the state my life has devolved to – at least I hope that’s not the case! Rather, she’s very pleased with the lack of turmoil in my health profile.
In fact, most of the time when I think about my cancer these days, I think about it in the past. It’s not gone, and I really must guard against getting too far ahead of myself; but the truth is, I feel great. My symptoms and side effects are manageable and under control, and my energy is quite good. One day last week, I even dashed for a commuter train!
I still have months of chemotherapy left. We need to put the whole of the disease behind me, which means taking every last step to a completely tumorless scan… and beyond. And once that’s done, I’ll need to maintain a lifelong vigilance with periodic follow-up scans.
The adventure goes on… but without quite so much high drama.