I’ve got a funny feeling today. It’s not the feeling I expected to have on this date. And I’m not sure what it means, or what to do about it. It’s just … there.
I certainly expected to feel something on this date. Happy. Relieved. Excited. Thankful. Lucky. Blessed. It was 1 year ago today, July 31, 2008, when I underwent the third PET/CT scan in six months, and was told that as far as anyone could tell, all signs of Hodgkins’ lymphoma were gone. Six cycles, 26 weeks, of chemotherapy had done their job. There had been unexpected complications and detours and side effects along the way, but none of that mattered now. I’d reached the finish line. All was once again well.
And in every checkup I’ve had since, every 3 months (with a few additional visits just to have blood drawn), it’s been the same message: All is well.
Slowly, slowly, the chemo-induced scarring on my lungs began to resolve itself. Slowly, the phrenic nerve that controls the diaphragm, the one that had become paralyzed by the tumor growing all around it, began to regenerate. I could breathe easily again. All is well.
Those periodic lab tests confirmed the way I felt. My hematocrit was back to normal. My white-cell counts were good, my immune system once again a robust defender. The single kidney left undamaged by the cancer was again functioning normally. I no longer felt the overwhelming need to take a nap every four hours, like some gigantic overgrown baby. I started working full time again, and reveled in being busy and useful. I began venturing out of my house for things other than chemo appointments and work. My formerly stick-straight hair grew back in a madcap curly mop. All is well.
But today, I don’t know. I’ve got a funny feeling today. I’ve had it for a week or so. It’s nothing explicit, nothing I could point a finger at and call a symptom, nothing that can be put easily into words. It’s just … a feeling. A feeling that perhaps all is no longer well.
What do you do with a feeling like that? There’s absolutely nothing that I could articulate to my oncologist as a reason for concern. Maybe it’s just normal anxiety tied to the 1-year milestone. Maybe in 3 months when I get another PET/CT scan and another all-clear, I’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny. Or maybe I’ll look back and say, “Yes, that was when it started again. That was when I knew.”
My next checkup is in October. By then, I guess I’ll know if it’s more than a feeling.