Last Thursday, almost seven months to the day that I had completed my last radiation treatment, Jon and I headed to Boston for my six-month (more like seven-month) follow up. What we were hoping to hear was that there had been no tumor growth in that time.
The months in between radiation and now have been riddled, as I have explained in earlier blogs…with nervousness and anxiety…every symptom I’ve had over these months always stood to be a candidate representing tumor growth, but then again what I was/am feeling could be due to radiation…the annihilator of tumors and all things in between. All I could do was wait and see…ah, if I only had that MRI home version (just kidding…but not a bad idea, right?).
On Thursday Jon and I packed up for our overnight in Boston. My actual appointment was on Friday…but there was no way I felt I could make the drive up, then have the MRI, then have the appointment…that would be just too much fun for one day. We stopped to have lunch right outside of Boston with a longtime friend of ours; this was great and it kind of set the mood for all things good.
We left and checked into our hotel room…at where else but the beautiful Liberty Hotel. So good to be back where I belong. We were offered the usual entry glass of champagne, which we graciously accepted, and of course there was the entry fruit. In the summer when I stayed at the Liberty, the offering was a plum…this season at this time…it was a red pear-very good with champagne.
For dinner we decided to use our unused “Charlie cards” from the summer (for those that don’t know, this is akin to the Metro card or Bart Card…you get the idea). We took the T to Cambridge where we ate at a place called Four Burgers-the menu is as you would expect…four burgers. I occasionally like a restaurant where the choices are limited and simple…it’s relaxing. Our true reason for going to this restaurant was that it was a short walk from our favorite ice cream place in Cambridge…Toscanini’s. So, we each ate a big burger…Jon with a bun and cheese, me without a bun…or cheese. We split a big portion of fries (half and half)…this would be regular fries and sweet potato fries. We scarfed that down and made a beeline for the most important part of the meal…dessert. Yum! I had rum cocoa ice cream (dark chocolate with a hint of rum), with the best hot fudge I have yet to have anywhere…and I’ve been some places. This was amazing. Jon went for a Belgium Chocolate cone, this tasted surprisingly on the Milk Chocolate side. I would have thought it to be more like dark chocolate-it was not, but it was delicious despite it’s plus milk intrusion.
Stuffed to the brim, we “Charlied” our way back to the hotel…Friday would be the big day, and it would start early. I had to be at the MRI facility at 8:30A, and it was about a half hour away from the hotel.
The morning came quick. We arrived at the facility at 8:30A sharp. I was finished around 11A, and off to my follow-up appointment with my radiation oncologist at 11:30A. I had to wait until about 12:15P to be seen…seemed like old times. I remember how long I would have to wait in this very waiting room, sometimes up to an hour or more past my scheduled appointment time…busy place.
When finally we saw the doctor, I was feeling apprehensive (the long wait had not improved things as far as that went). I was thinking positively, but everything Jon and I had been through this last year and half, really came down to this moment. Would the MRI show no tumor growth up until this point? This result would be considered a success. I would still need to come back in six months, and then maybe I could stretch it out to a year for every year afterward…but this moment was crucial. The longer you can go without any tumor growth, the greater the chances of not ever having any in the future.
My doctor spent a lot of time catching up on how I’ve felt over these last months. What still bothered me? What didn’t bother me as much anymore? He didn’t seem concerned about anything I mentioned, he said that my body had been through a lot, and it would take a while to feel completely healed. Okay I’m thinking, but I’m also thinking, “couldn’t we have had this conversation after you gave me the results of my MRI?” “What are the results of my MRI?” Almost as though he had heard the thoughts inside my head, he said “Well, let’s take a look at the films”. He walked out of the room to view them-my heart was palpitating…he stepped back in and said “Congratulations! No tumor growth! This is good news, we’ll see you in six months.” And there you go. Can you believe it? Just like that, “No tumor growth”. Good News. We have heard so much not so good news that it takes a few minutes to sink in; we’ve had our battle gear up for so long, it’s hard to let it down. But we are really happy; it’s what we had hoped.
What a long, strange trip its been. I’ve spent so much time and energy towards battling this tumor; I’m both stronger and weaker because of it. It will be some time before I won’t be worrying about my next MRI, or concerned about any new symptom, but as time goes on, I suppose that will be less and less of a concern. I’m looking forward to diverting the enormous amount of energy that I’ve directed, even devoted to the elimination of this tumor, and redirecting it towards so many things. I can’t wait.
So this blog will transition from one adventure into another. Please continue to peek in on me, and thank you all for all your positive thoughts and support.