I've just now come off the cloud I've been floating on the past few days after receiving some of the best news of my life. I think it was the delivery of it that made it even that much more overwhelming.
I wasn't expecting to hear any news on my PET Scan. I had successfully pushed it out of my head telling myself that I would hear when the time was right. Well, I was in for a Neup shot to get my white blood cells back up and while I was sitting in the blood drawing throne Dr. Dailey happened to walk by the room.
"Oh, hi, Karin, everything looks clear," he said while hovering in the doorway.
I'm thinking, what's clear? The weather?
"It all looks very good."
"What? (again) My scan?"
Then he walked over to my throne where my fav lab tech and I sat.
"I just reviewed your report and you show an outstanding response ... no signs of Hodgkin's remaining."
I started bouncing in my seat and could literally feel this surge of emotion running through me. I pumped my fist in the air like a middle school boy who just sank a half-court shot in front of his girlfriend on the bleachers. Funny the weird things you do when emotions take over.
Dr. Dailey patted me on the back and said we'd go over everything in more detail but all looked "outstanding" (my new favorite word), that we'd finish the 12 treatments and that I was beating this. When he left the room Denise and I hugged it out and I just kept saying: "This is the best news EVER!"
I bumped into him again in the hallway and just kept thanking him for making my day.
I went and told my nurse the news and she planted a big, wet one on my cheek. Even after I left the room I could hear her commenting to herself: "Wow, that is such good news!" I was so full of positive vibes that I don't even remember getting stuck with the needle.
When I got outside to my car the flood gates opened. I cried through my smile the entire way home with music blaring and all the windows open. My tears literally felt like deep emotions pouring out of my body. It felt so cleansing to have an impressive showing of good tears - something I haven't shed in a long time. Everything felt lighter.
I pulled in the driveway and walked over to Craig and shakily managed: "I did it!" before crumbling into his arms for another round of tears.
We shoved a bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the freezer to chill then I started the phone calls to my family and got to relive it all all over again as each person on the other end yelled, burst into tears, or just sighed huge sighs of relief.
That night we had plans to host my former director at the Arts Council, her husband, and another GHAC colleague for dinner. Well, they insisted on bringing the dinner and delicious pie, so
really all we did was provide the setting. And a perfect setting it was to share my news, which I didn't divulge until well into the night. Craig quietly laid out the champagne flutes and bottle and everyone looked at me as I told them that yes, we had something to celebrate tonight.
I've never seen grown adults squeal and jump so much! They were the perfect group to be there to share in my elation as they've been with me from day one of this journey, and through many journeys before (wedding, honeymoon, hurricanes, home buying). So, over out-of-this-world strawberry rhubarb pie and ice-cold champagne we toasted to the first real sign that I am in fact "Kickin' Cancer's Ass" as the magnet on my fridge says.
I know it's not over - still one third to go - but this news will make it so much easier to handle. The chemo is working and I am going to be okay. Death is now off the table and I don't have the fear that I've been carrying with me all this time. I have many questions about what happens next, what the chemo will be targeting during these last four treatments, what happens when it's all over, when will I be back to myself ... I'm sure they'll all be answered in time.
Tomorrow it is back to chemo for treatment number 9. As much as I am not looking forward to how I know it will make me feel, I can now go into it knowing that the side effects I'll be grappling with for the next week are not for nothing. The chemo is doing its job and all the effort I've been putting into keeping my body strong has paid off. It's a damn good feeling.