I reached a medical milestone today!
Yesterday, I completed my initial round of four radioisotope treatments and this morning’s scans showed that my primary neuroendocrine tumour (located in my colon) is shrinking! The other four tumours appear not to have grown and there are no new ones. As a result, my cancer treatment will now go into a maintenance phase. I will continue to be treated with Lutetium-Octreotate, but instead of a treatment every nine to twelve weeks, I will now have one every six months!
While I was sitting on my hospital bed yesterday afternoon while the Lutetium was being administered via IV drip, I flipped open my new issue of Chatelaine magazine and was in for a surprise. When I read “Crashing the Cancer Club”, Jenny Charlesworth’s story of surviving cervical cancer, in the March 2015 issue, I immediately responded with a letter to the editor via email. I’d completely forgotten about that until I saw my letter in print yesterday! Here’s what it said:
Thank you for pointing out, in “Crashing the Cancer Club,” that every cancer story is different and that each of us who has cancer, or who has had it in the past, is a survivor in our own right. Since August 2013 (a misprint in the magazine says 2014), I have been diagnosed with two different cancers. One was removed by surgery followed by radiation; but the other is a rare, slow-growing cancer for which there is no cure. People have a hard time grasping the idea of a chronic cancer. The usual assumption is that patients either die of their disease or are cured, thereby becoming cancer survivors. I’ve learned to look at my situation differently. I may die of my cancer or I may die with it, but either way, I am a survivor.
It may sound silly, but I was encouraged by my own words. Written two months ago, they reminded me that though mine is an incurable disease and, barring a miracle of God, I will have it for the rest of my life, I am indeed a survivor!
Reaching today’s milestone was a great reminder of that!