Nothing puts you on edge like waiting for the results of a completed cancer treatment, and I’ll be totally honest, I haven’t always handled it with as much grace as people think.
I’ve snapped at people who don’t deserve it, a dog food commercial with the right piano accompaniment will turn me into a sniveling puddle, and a while ago I pitched a hard-boiled egg at the kitchen wall with all my might. We’re literally still finding shells from my little outburst.
The times of uncertainty are the worst, and 2 major sources of uncertainty just came to a close. I’m already finding my mind to be a lot freer, and my emotions less volatile.
I recently had another PET scan to determine whether or not the cancer had returned again. This one was of particular importance because I had been 8 weeks without chemo. The last time I had an 8 week follow up scan, they found a little spot that was “probably nothing to worry about”… that was 3 regimens of chemo, almost a month in the hospital, and a stem cell transplant ago. So needless to say, the stakes were pretty high for this one, and I was on edge.
I met a young PET scan technician who repeatedly told me how healthy I look. Normally I would take the compliment and move on, but I couldn’t help but think how looking and feeling healthy has had absolutely no correlation with my actual health in the past.
We got on with the scan, which consists of lying motionless with your hands over your head for about 30 minutes. 30 minutes, alone with my thoughts, trying not to think about what they’re seeing on the other side of the glass.
When the scan ended, the young technician came in and said “Can you just stay in that position for a minute, we’re seeing something a little out-of-the-ordinary and we just want to make sure everything is accurate. We might need to re-scan a section”.
This news is coming from a guy who thinks I LOOK healthy. What is he seeing back there that’s “out-of-the-ordinary”!?
… Alone with my thoughts again for what seems like an eternity.
… Sooooo… am I going to make it through the night, or should I call the priest now?
The technician came back in and my heart stopped (figuratively… in most cases I’d assume this is a given) and he said “There is increased uptake in your left arm, have you been exercising?”. I had been to my first Aquasize class that morning! And I guess I had worked hard enough that my muscles were lighting up the PET scan.
So the results came in, and this is the second scan that I’ve had in complete remission! Cancer Free! But let me tell you about aquasize, this is a riot.
I’ve been going to The Rady Center, a community center in Winnipeg where I’ve made friends with one of the trainers who work there. He knows my whole story and kept telling me about water training. Apparently all the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are doing it and exercise physiologists swear by it.
I’m happy to try anything, so I woke up early with one of my good friends to go to one of these classes.
Not only was I the only Male in the class of 60 or so, but we were also probably the only people under 65 years old. Picture my bald pink head in a sea of white hair and pastel swim caps with matching nose plugs.
There is an instructor leading the exercise up at the front, and you get to choose your difficulty based on how fast you go and how much water you are moving. I wanted to get a pretty good work-out for the day. So there I am thrashing around like Jaws attacking the ORCA, while Mavis beside me is flittering her arms and talking to her neighbor about her grandson’s new girlfriend.
I’m sure the rest of the class thought I was training for the U75 Aquasize national team.
I’ve also been through 1 cycle of Brentuxumab, the chemotherapy drug that will be administered every 3 weeks for the next year. It pretty much knocked me out on the day I got it, but I was starting to feel OK by the next evening.
Everything’s Coming up Milhouse!
So it goes.