Scanxiety is a real thing. I’ve had two rounds of every three month scans since my last post. Time flies when you’re having fun (insert sarcasm). But, to make a long story short … I’m free from the need for treatment for another three months! My doctors words were “enjoy your summer”.
For those of you who want more – let’s talk a bit about last summer. Besides being faced with what I couldn’t do in Lake Placid. I had a spot for my paddle board on a rack on the river at the Shark River Beach Yacht Club. I never paddled. Why? Because I was afraid I couldn’t do it. The woman who paddled multiple times around Manhattan island was afraid of running out of breathe, in the middle of a much smaller and much less tidal river. I had to stop doing another of my favorite things — riding my beach cruiser to the beach (about 2 miles each way) because I couldn’t make it back home and had to call for a ride home. I didn’t once open water swim, because I was afraid. And I haven’t been on my road bike since my crash. So (understandably I hope) leading into this past Monday’s scans I worried more and more about the possibility of having to restart treatment. And having another shitty summer.
My “eyes to thighs” scan back in February were good. Nothing new and nothing growing. My brain scan showed something questionable. Which meant the need for a brain MRI and a few extra weeks of worry. Those results turned out to be all good, so back to three month CT scans.
In the meanwhile, we (me) decided to rescue another Shih Tzu. We welcomed Blue into our home on March 1st. He’s been such a joy for both of us, but especially for me. He likes nothing better than to be sitting next to me, pressed against my leg. There is nothing more calming!
Catching up to this weeks scans. “Eyes to thighs” still show nothing new and nothing growing. But nothing shrinking anymore either. My doctor is extremely pleased. I asked more questions. I still have stage 4 lung cancer. It will never be gone. But my doctor told me about a patient who hasn’t needed treatment in over ten years. I could definitely live with that.
There is some sad (and good) news from this week. My doctor is leaving MSK, this Saturday is her last day. She’s going to work for a major pharmaceutical company to do research on lung cancer. Selfishly, I don’t want to lose her. She knows so much about me. But on the other hand – she will have more flexibility to spend time with her family and what a gift to lung cancer research. I won’t meet my new doctor till the end of August.
On a more personal note. I mourn the loss of the old me. I miss biking for hours. I miss running hard. I miss being fit enough to race a hard Ironman. I miss swimming so hard I thought my lungs would explode. I miss having a fit body. I am trying to accept I may never be that person again. I am genuinely grateful to still be alive.
POSTSCRIPT: never underestimate the power of a kind word. I was leaving the gym this morning, still in my run shorts. Another member stopped me and said “you’ve got great legs, do you mind if I ask how old you are?” I happily told her 67. Made me smile, I guess there’s still some hidden fitness there.