Sunday, April 22, 2012

No New Cancer!

It has been some time since my last posting.  If this caused any of you concern, I apologize.

This last week was an important one for me.  For one thing, on April 17th it was six months since my surgery.  As a follow up with my cancer the doctors are calling for CT scans and MRI's every three months for the next two years to make sure that the cancer isn't coming back.  So, on Monday I went in and spent about 2 hours lying in machines as they captured images of my head, neck and chest.

Claustrophobic anyone?
MRI's are interesting.  They put you in hospital gowns and give you ear plugs because the machine is quite loud.  They hook up an IV so that they can inject dye at certain times, then they lay you on a sliding table.   They place a cage over your head so that you can't move your head in any direction, then they slide the table into a tube that is only barely bigger than your body.  I don't know how they would do this with somebody who was overweight since I barely fit.  The technician informs you not to move at all and then this loud contraption begins.  It sounds like you are in a metal tube and somebody is beating on it with a hammer.  For a scan of my head neck and chest it took 80 minutes.  I'm not claustrophobic at all, thank heavens.  The lady ahead of me had to be sedated so that she could be inserted into the machine.

Anyway, my appointment with the doctor to get the results was on Thursday.  I tried not to be nervous.  After all, I know that God is aware of me and that he has been taking care of me all along the way.  What I don't know is whether this trial is over yet or not.  I find myself asking if I have learned all that I was supposed to learn or if God still has more trials for me to overcome.  The thought of having to go through surgery or chemotherapy again is very frightening!  So, my feelings bounce all over the place.  I know that God loves me and yet still I am scared.

Well, Thursday came.  The nurses at the chemotherapy clinic were wonderful as always.  Many of them came in just to hug me and ask how I had been.  A few commented on how different I look with hair.  It's strange to think of a whole group of people who know me better as bald.   Several of them told me how they talk about me often and pray for me.

Finally it was time to talk to the doctor.  I like our doctor, he doesn't beat around the bush.  After a brief physical he sat down at the computer and told me, "Eric, your scans look completely clear.  We can't find any evidence of your cancer returning." I have to admit,  I broke down and cried.  JoLynne is so loving and supportive.  She just squeezed  my hand to let me know how happy she was.  The doctor just grinned.

On the way out several nurses again came out to hear what the doctor had said.  They are so genuine in their concern.  I don't know that I have ever met more compassionate people.  I told them the good news and started to cry again.  (That seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life these days.)  There was an older gentleman across the room who was waiting for his wife who was having chemotherapy as well.  He started to cry too.  What is it about cancer that draws us all together so tightly?  I guess it is the common enemy that we are all fighting.

I was so happy when I got home.  I just felt like climbing on my roof and yelling out the good news.  I did the next best thing and sent a bunch of texts.  I told my kids we were going to have a "No New Cancer" party.  So we went out to eat and just be together.

I still don't know for sure what the future holds.  Mostly I just feel grateful to be healthy and to feel my strength coming back.  I try to remind myself of the miracles that have occurred and to continue to feel that deep sense of gratitude to my Heavenly Father.  I don't want that feeling to fade.  We were at the temple the other night.  There was some quiet time as we waited.  One of the after effects of chemotherapy for me is a constant high pitched noise in my ears.  It is more noticeable when it is quiet.  I also have quite of bit of hearing loss.  Anyway, I was thinking about how my ears don't work quite as well as they used to and the thought came, "What you have lost in physical hearing you have gained in your spiritual hearing"  I believe that is true.  I feel like I am better able to hear the promptings of the spirit than ever before in my life.  This was probably a good trade.