You know it’s gonna be a good day when a doctor tells you that you don’t need his services.
Today was the day Will and I have been dreading for weeks: the appointment with the radiation oncologist. We were afraid this meant that the cancer was spreading to his bones and that we would have to undertake the daily routine of treatments for God knew how long…..and at what cost. He didn’t want radiation, he said; wanted only to continue taking the oral chemo and hope for the best. But with the threat posed by the likelihood of bone metastasis, it was something that had to be considered.
Needless to say, the suspense has been hard to bear. We’ve lived with our fears by day, taken them to bed with us by night. I’m pretty sure it’s even had something to do with my recent mood instability. And as we sat in the exam room this morning, I was silently frantic that he would refuse the treatment, even as I was busily trying to figure out how he would get to the daily appointments when I needed the car for work. Would I have to quit my job? And if so, what would we do for money? Or health insurance? I was lucky to have landed this position……it’s not like there’s a huge job market for 55-year-olds……and I didn’t fancy living in a cardboard box behind the strip mall…..
……and so on, and so on. That’s what I mean when I say I have this tendency to catastrophize. If I didn’t spend so much time over-thinking things, I might have found the CURE for cancer by now. But when the doctor came in and began to show us the results of the MRI and the X-rays, all of that went away.
Long story short, Will does have lesions on his bones, but the only one of any concern is located in his lumbar spine, and it’s obviously been there for a while. It is also not growing, nor is it causing the vertebrae to collapse (although that is a possibility down the road), nor is it giving him any pain. In fact, the risks of radiation at this point are higher than the benefits, and as for the rest of his tumors……the doctor called them “stable”.
There may not be a more beautiful word in the English language.
Naturally, the consensus among family and friends is that we’ve been given a reprieve, although it is in the context of stage IV cancer. We know the day of reckoning is coming, but it’s not here yet, and it may not arrive for some time…….as long as the medicines keep working and his overall health continues to hold. His spirit remains strong, and if you were to look at him right now, you’d never even know he’s sick at all.
So today, it’s all green lights and blue skies……and for once, I’m not going to worry about what tomorrow may bring.