Normally, I keep these updates over in How’s Jen, but I thought it made sense to include the great news on MommaBlog this time.
When we walked into the waiting area, the announcers on the TV were just getting to the M’s. The nurses at the Manhattan radiology center where I was about to have a PET scan had tuned the TV to news coverage of the annual September 11th anniversary memorial taking place downtown. My husband and I paused as the announcer, a relative of a 9-11 victim, read our neighbor’s name. Then we sat down and waited for my turn in the PET scan machine.
Normally, I’d have driven myself to my post-cancer scan, but on Friday, I wasn’t feeling too great. A sinus infection had moved into my chest where, it seems, it wreaked havoc on the nerve damage in my lungs caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Plus, it was pouring rain outside, and I knew the FDR Drive would be backed up. Better to have my husband brave the two-hour commute (over just 30 miles). Besides, then I could text my friends.
“It’s scan day. Puppies and rainbows,” I e-mailed to my writer friends, asking them for “Zen for Jen.” They replied by adding even more happy thoughts to the list. By the time the nurse gave me my pre-test radiation shot, it included:
baby roses sparkling in morning dew
sunrise or sunset so beautiful it takes your breath away
music that makes your hear float in ecstacy
and all good things that make good thoughts and positive energy …
I drank the awful banana gunk — CT contrast — this time choosing not to “order” rum from the nurse. My seventh scan in two years, perhaps it was time to retire the joke. On such a solemn day in New York, it didn’t feel appropriate anyhow.
After I finished the scan, we got back into the car and headed home in less traffic, but more rain. At home, I settled onto the couch, figuring I wouldn’t get the results until the next day. But then my cell phone rang, and my oncologist gave me the good news: “No sign of disease,” he cheered. I asked him if my upcoming two years in remission mark meant that my scans would go from four months apart to every six months. He replied, “Well, there’s new thinking that two years is it.” In other words: CURED — a word I didn’t expect to hear for another three years, after many more PET scans.
I’m liking the new thinking.
On Sunday, we went to church, where the lyrics of one hymn made me darn near cry:
Leave behind your former self and live.
Don’t look back, don’t be afraid; follow.
In my head, I added, “And chocolate!”