Remission: Year 1

The results are in! No APML detected.

0 Cancer Test Results

I’ve reached my first year of remission. I say this humbly with gratitude and hopefully dodging a jinx. My impressions…

I get superstitious like this. Could it have been the Kobe finally passed joke (RIP King!) that I might have repeated that swung my karma? I wonder if maybe it was the year run on Cumby’s breakfast sausage sandwiches, one month of Dunkin Maple Coffee, or I gulped the water while swimming in the bay. Maybe I got zapped by the nuke plant miles from my house, my monitor, or phone.  Nah! More likely, it was living a stressful life and/or the ten years of smoking I did when it was cooler to do so.  The point is, although no cancer is currently detected (nice oncologist phrasing, eh?), the specter of it is here to stay.

I have been doing my best to live with it mentally.  Humor helps, as does learning what you can control, prayers and meditation. At the end of the day, though, the biggest ground for me is the thought that I’m here right now with you, and I’m ok. That is what matters. Not what did happen or what could happen. I sometimes fail miserably with this line of thought, but I keep trying. Try is something I can control.

I’ve found many connections in the cancer community, although it’s a double-edged sword. Everybody’s experience is different, but we’re all scared shitless. It is possibly the worst common ground you could ever find-but it helps. I’ve found great happiness there. There are so many laughs and good souls. But, I’ve also felt sadness with the pain and passing of others.  Norm MacDonalds’s recent passing took the wind right out of me, as do the people that suddenly disappear off the internet. Sometimes you see something on their passing, but more often, not.  You want them or their loved one to know you get it and cared. Survivor’s guilt is a thing, but so is compassion. It is worth the tradeoff. I’m a better dude because of it.

Physically, I’m much better, although some things may not go away. I have much more energy and some stamina. Fatigue still happens, but not as much as it used to, and you become better at managing life around it. My stomach issues evolved but are now manageable. The added bonus is what I can’t eat wasn’t good for me to begin with. I occasionally cheat, though, and pay the toll. Paying the toll makes it so much more worth it. I still have some neuropathy in my feet, but it helps mitigate the plantar fasciitis so I can exercise more (winning!). Yin and Yang. See the pattern developing in all this?

Oncology visits have evolved. I have become a member of my oncologist’s B-squad of patients. The B means boring, and that is good. My oncologists have become a bit more distant, stuff gets pushed back to my PCP, and there isn’t much urgency anymore. It is hard to let go, but these are good developments. The memories evoked, sights, smells, and sounds I see in the clinic haunt me, but it keeps me grounded in being the boring compassionate patient I want to be.

It’s been over a year. That may not be true next year, but I’m here now. That’s what matters. Hope this helps somebody that is just starting.