Dancing with NED

The first time we saw him, NED looked at us shyly from the doorway. I suppose it wasn't his time to come into the room. It was January 16, and we had come from a visit to Dr. C. that discussed the results of the surgery and the fact that I'd be on the Herceptin-only regimen for a while. Dr. C had shaken our hand, and was thrilled with the results, and said that we'd re-scan in a couple months. That day, NED peered his head in the door, and gave us a nod. He let us know he'd see us as soon as he could.

Three months passed. My hair grew, my strength returned, my confidence grew, the dark circles dissipated, and the time for another scan approached. I wrote about PFS, and tried to convince myself that this was my time to continue the respite. I tried, as hard as I could, not to think about the scan, because I knew that I had done whatever I could do, and if there was something in there, I couldn't pray it out, I couldn't run it out, I couldn't hike it out, or diet it out, or bargain with God to make it go away. Still, beneath all the laughter and the strength, I was terrified. The problem was that in that time, I let the fear take over some rational part of my mind, and cloud my judgement. All the while, laughing, and saying that I had no concerns. But I did. Thankfully, I find myself surrounded by friends and family who love and accept me, even when it seems difficult to.

Last Thursday was the scan, and although we got the report back on Monday evening, the true test was today, because we still had some questions. However, when the nurse, Sue, called on Monday evening and said, "you know it's good news if the nurse calls instead of the doctor," I still wanted to hear it from him. Today was the day.

Although I knew it would probably be a re-confirmation of good news, I still let a seed of doubt creep in on the way there. The lingering, fleeting thought of, "this really sucks." Thankfully, it passed shortly after it arrived.

I had seen the scene a hundred times in my mind, and there we were. Sitting, waiting, watching for the door to open and the doctor to come in. The door opened, and for the first time, I looked at his face, which was beaming. Dr. C shook our hands and let us know that the report was just fantastic. All we could have hoped for. There was nothing left... Nothing. NED burst into the room and gathered us into his arms, swirling around in a dance of victory. We listened to the doctor, and his impression that I was doing exceptionally well. Thriving. Much better than most people at this stage, and that he attributed a majority of that success to the type of person I am. Strong, healthy, fighter. He expressed to us, again, his opinion that it is so important to have a strong body, which feeds a strong mind, which goes back to the most primal cases of survival. The strong survive. The hopeful survive. The ones with the will to live are the ones that will fulfill that prophecy. Me? It's just not my time to go. He said, as much as he'd like to take some credit, part of it is really due to me, too. But yet, it's a victory for him, to have an exceptional case, and for a doctor, adds hope in a day, and to a profession that all too often, brings bad news. Not today, my friends. Today we dance with NED. And we re-scan in another few months.

We went back into the waiting room, and I was still a bit in awe of the fact that we had REALLY done it this time. Not a remaining liver spot. Not potential ascites. Not mystery masses in the abdomen. At times I felt like I was free-falling after not taking the chemo, because at least I knew then that even though it was killing the good cells, it was killing the bad cells too, so it was even more important to me that this scan have good results. This time, this time we really DID win. This time, we did it. This time, we dance with NED for as long as he'll have us.

As we were in the waiting room, waiting to head back to the chemo suite for my Herceptin treatment, a man walked into the office with a t-shirt that read
"God Answers Prayers"

All the times when I'm not sure where or if there is a God that hears me, all the times, I was unsure if I was doing this prayer thing correctly, I think this man walked in at the exact time he was supposed to. God Answers Prayers, indeed. I couldn't begin to thank everyone who has been offering them up on my behalf, but someone answered them.

Today? Today it's time for me to say a prayer of thanks. And one of hope. One of faith in medicine and in miracles. Like Barb told me, it's good to know there are some miracles left in this world. I just never thought I would be one of them.

7 comments:

    mmmhmm.

    i'd say more but i can't. too many tears.

    On April 23, 2008 at 3:26 PM lisa said...

    Hey Vivo, why am I crying?????


    Thank God for answered prayers! (and there is no right way to pray, silly!)

    You are a miracle my friend.

    I love you!!!

    On April 23, 2008 at 6:18 PM Alyson said...

    I have never been so happy to read a text as I was today. Now off to sunshine and baseball and the beach, ok? LOVE YOU!

    I am thrilled to pieces for you! Like Lisa said, you are a miracle. I am beyond happy reading this news. YAY!!

    This is excellent news!!!

    I am so excited for you. I just knew you would beat the cells. I sent you a copy of an email about a 34 year old woman with cancer. She is the daughter of one of our local weather reporters. When you get the email, I think you'll understand why I sent it on to you.

    Keep on keepin' on!!

    Dad will be happy with the report!

    Love you always--

    Steve

    Oh Jen, you truly are a miracle...I can't type anything else because I have tears streaming down my face...Way to fight it, love ya!!!...Xoxoxo