Yes friends, I kicked the crazy lady to the curb, just before hopping into the car with Rich and speeding out of the Mayo parking ramp. After two very long and stressful days, we are outta here! (And before you worry that I assaulted someone, the crazy lady is a reference to my last post. Fear not. I totally passed my psych evaluation.)
The news is good! Very good! My chest X-ray, blood work and liver MRI came back clear, and my eye scans look promising. The tumor has shrunk in height, but not in width. Dr. Pulido said it’s very normal for tumors to shrink in height first and then in width, so this is fine. The one thing that was a little amiss was some fluid buildup around the tumor, causing the width of the tumor to appear wider when it’s probably the same. For this reason he wants to see me again in 5 months, rather than the typical 8 months, but assured me that he’s just being overly careful. He’s not worried, so I shouldn’t be either. In fact, he kept repeating “you’re doing well” throughout our entire appointment. He finally told me it was because I totally failed the handshake test. “When I came in and shook your hand, it was freezing. You’re nervous, I can tell.” Uh, yeah. Little bit. Feeling weak, a little numb and kind of buzzy (they turbo dilated my eyes again), I got up to leave and his assistant Kim, who I love very much, hugged me and whispered “congratulations.” And that’s when I lost it. Because that’s when it started to become real. After so many sleepless nights spent rehearsing possible scenarios in my head, the reality that I had just gotten the best one washed over me with that hug. The elation would come later. This was pure relief.
There is nothing more maddening than having THE BEST NEWS IN THE WORLD and not being able to share it. As I mentioned though, they had turbo dilated me, so I couldn’t see anything. I thrust my phone at Rich and quickly dictated a brief Facebook post (after calling my parents, of course. I’m pretty sure my mom’s been holding her breath for the last two days. Breathe, Mom!). And now that the knots in our stomachs had relaxed, we came to the collective realization that we were starving, so we went to grab some food. As we sat at the table, my phone kept lighting up, and each time it did and to Rich’s great enjoyment, I impatiently held it to his face and begged him to read it to me. This continued for the next few hours, until my eyes recovered enough to read the messages myself, and just about when I think Rich’s patience with being my seeing eye husband was wearing thin.
But oh, those messages! Over the last few days I have just been so overwhelmed by all the ways people have reached out to support me. The caringbridge comments, Facebook posts and messages, texts, emails, calls – I have never felt so completely surrounded and held close (except maybe when I’ve been in an MRI machine, but that’s different). I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for those constant reminders that I’m not alone in this fight, those repeated assurances that no matter what happens, I am loved and supported. I’m also completely humbled by all the people who don’t even know me, but have faithfully lifted me and my family up in prayer. I wish I could hug you all.
Speaking of hugs, we’re almost home and I think I have some happy kids to hug. Of course, this is just one of the early miles in the marathon that is my cancer fight, but I just climbed a major hill, I’m on a really good pace and I’m looking forward to an easy, flat section for the next 5 months. Maybe a water stop too – it just won’t be Gatorade in my cup. ☺️
So grateful for you all,