Thursday, August 30, 2012

You are Discharged

"You are discharged!"  Words I will remember for the rest of my life.  I've known for a couple of weeks that my final test results came back clear (thanks to my lovely doctors), but I had to wait for the official confirmation from the oncologists at the BC Cancer Agency.  Today was my appointment.

Despite the fact that I knew the results of the tests, I was keeping a very cautiously optimistic attitude about the whole situation.  I had this lingering wariness at the back of my mind, thinking that the oncologist would tell me that they missed something or that they messed up the test results.  There was a fragment of doubt remaining and I knew I just couldn't let out that final breath of relief without hearing the words officially from the oncologists mouth.  Today I finally got to hear those words.  According to him, my CT scan was great and my blood work was excellent.  There is currently no sign of cancer in my system.  I am technically in remission now.  This is so incredibly exciting.  I can barely stand it!  I have to be clear for a full 5 years before I am considered "cured" though.  I will also have to continue going in for regular tests as a preventative measure to keep any potential cancer from reaching the stage that it got to this time around.  Fortunately for me, colon cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent.  All I have to do is have a tube shoved up my back side every year or two for the rest of my life.  Believe me, I'd much rather that than have to go through this whole experience again.

The crowning glory of the doctor's visit today was when I received my appointment card back from the nurse.  After every oncology appointment, they take your card (it's almost like a dance card from days of yore) and they mark down the date and the time of your next appointment.  As they hand it back to you, they tell you those details verbally.  Today though, she looked into the card, handed it over to me and said happily, "You are discharged!".  A wave of emotion came over me.  Discharged.  That means I am no longer a patient at the cancer clinic.  This means that I am clear.  This means that I am a survivor.  Wow!  It all hit me at that moment.  I walked to the elevator with tears in my eyes.  I had to put my sunglasses on inside to stop people from staring at me while the tears started to spill over.  I promptly got into my car, called my best friend, and cried!  I could finally let my breath out.  I could finally breathe that sigh of relief.  I could finally let go.  When I found out the results of my tests a couple weeks ago, I had so many people say, "You must be relieved" or "I can't imagine the relief you must be feeling."  Well, I wasn't feeling it then, but I sure did feel it today.

I decided I was going to go home and make myself some dark chocolate mousse cupcakes to celebrate. The batter tasted so good that I'm surprised any of it made it into the oven.  I've been eating very healthy lately and haven't had much processed sugar, so this was quite the treat.  The funny thing is, I have been home all evening and I really don't feel like eating a cupcake!  I've been craving veggies.  What is wrong with me?!?!?!  I think maybe it's my body enjoying feeling healthy.  My energy is starting to return, the scars are starting to disappear, the nose and mouth sores are almost gone.  Unfortunately, my neuropathy has been getting worse.  I don't even bother doing up buttons half the time because my fingers don't work well enough to do them up anyway.  I couldn't even think of getting a pedicure right now because it down right hurts to have the dead skin on my feet sloughed off. This, I am told, should all go away.  It may take a couple more months, but it WILL go away.  I'm believing for that right now.

I am starting work again, I am being submitted for roles by my agent again, I am taking on the primary care giver role with my daughter again.  My husband is starting school again in less than 2 weeks and I am creating several new projects for me and my production company to work on (some very fun, intriguing projects that I can't tell you about- tee hee).  Basically, my life is returning to normal.  My outlook on life, however, has been changed forever.  I will be more focused.  I will cherish my time on this planet.  I will remember to laugh and not to sweat the small stuff.  There are many lessons to be learned from this journey, from diagnosis (Nov. 21, 2011) to remission (Aug. 30, 2012).  I look forward to using this experience to enrich my life and the life of others in the future.  I can't wait to see what the next chapter holds for me.......!