Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Whew - I Can Breathe

My 6 month follow up appointment with CT scan results was very nerve wracking. As usual, it involved a lot of waiting. There was a mix-up about whether I was seeing the oncologist or his nurse practitioner, so the lab wasn't sure what they were supposed to do with me. They finally took a few vials of blood, flushed my port, and sent me upstairs. The nurse was waiting for us as we got off the elevator and took us through a maze of hallways to an exam room. Do they know how stressful that is for a patient with chemo brain??? Apparently the new facility is still working out some bugs!

I think I was more nervous at this appointment than I was when getting my initial PET scan results. Back then I knew I had cancer, just not sure how bad or where. This time, I was scared the scan would show something - enlarged lymph nodes, masses, tumors, etc - and we'd have to look at other treatment options. So while waiting on the lab to figure out what to do with me, I got the nervous shakes. You know, when you start shaking from the inside out and can't stop. I also had to work at holding back the tears. Then I remembered my go-to verse...

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
Jeremiah 17:7

...and I quoted it several times. I began to relax and felt more at peace. I gave it all to God - no matter what the CT scan showed, I know that He is God, He is good, and He is faithful. Here was an opportunity to put my faith into action!

My nurse practitioner could tell I was a little anxious. She said the results were great and that I could breathe now! My lymph nodes are back to normal size!!! No other concerns showed up on the scan!!! And she said my blood work was perfect!!! My white blood count and neutrophils are a little more than half way back to where there were before chemo!!! WOO HOO!!!

Of course, following the good news was the reminder that the follicular (indolent) component of my lymphoma is not usually's probably still there...and could some day turn into the aggressive lymphoma again. She said to think of it as a chronic condition that we'll watch closely. But right now, I CAN BREATHE!

I mentioned to my NP that we are going on a cruise (honeymoon 25 years late, 25th anniversary, and celebrating surviving this past year) and asked if there were any precautions I needed to take or concerns, etc. She gave just told us to enjoy the cruise because we deserve it!

My follow up plan will be:

  • Port flush every 6 weeks (yes, I'll keep the little alien inside me for awhile)
  • Blood work and visit with oncologist every 3 months
  • Scans every 6 months

It's ironic that my appointment was on the year anniversary of my needle biopsy. Funny how I can remember a date from a year ago but can't remember what I wore yesterday - HA!

For the word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all He does.
~ Psalm 33:4  

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