That headline is a lie, of course. My cancer will never be cured. But apparently it CAN be beaten back so much that I have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!!! ALL CAPS FREAK OUT!!!
I had a PET scan on Monday with results due at an appointment with #bestdocever on Friday. Then Holley Kitchen died on Tuesday. If you missed her video that went viral, go watch it. She had such a beautiful spirit, and it gutted me when she died, leaving behind two boys, the youngest a 4 year old…just like The Girl. So, I texted #bestdocever and said “Holley Kitchen died today, her youngest is 4. Tell me that won’t be me.” And he texted back, “Naw, I have good news for you on Friday.”
So, Friday comes around, and I go to the appointment. And we talk about my conversation with Joan Lunden, and the meeting I had the day before at The Hutch with other breast cancer advocates, and he gives me my check up and asks about my side effects from Xeloda, which at this point are fatigue (my constant companion) and looking tanned and freckled. So, pretty minimal.
Then #bestdocever says “I guess we should talk about your PET report. You know, unless you don’t want to.” And I said, “Well, you said it was good news.” And he said, “It’s OK.” And I was like, “Oh. So, just sort of good news, then.” And he said, “I’m kidding, it’s amazing.”
And we went through the report section by section, and each one said things like “metastatic lesions resolved” and “no longer any pathological FDG uptake.” In fact, my bone tumors aren’t just dead, the bones appear to be healing. And he carefully went through the liver section of the report, and said that he’d spoken in detail with the radiologist because he wanted to say I was NED, but wanted to make sure the spots on my liver really aren’t cancerous anymore. And the radiologist assured him that they weren’t. At this point the word “NED” was swimming in my brain…and as we got to the end of the report, I said, “So I’m NED?” And he said “Yep, you’re NED.”
As I was leaving, I told #bestdocever I was especially surprised about my liver because I’d been on a cruise the week before and frankly, I drank a lot, way more than usual. And he wisecracked, “Well that bourbon must be working, keep it up.” I also ate a lot of bacon. So I’m going with the theory that eating a lot of bacon and drinking a lot of bourbon will cure cancer. It’s as good a theory as black salve, drinking breast milk, or eating a lot of curry, amiright?
I honestly never thought I’d get there. #bestdocever had said at the start of this shitshow that NED was his goal for me, but I really didn’t think it would happen, especially after all that progression last spring. I’m still in shock. I knew Xeloda is a drug that people can have exceptional responses to, but I never believed I’d have THIS exceptional of a response. I feel like I’ve climbed back up the cliff a bit. It’s both thrilling and terrifying. But mostly thrilling. And it’s the first time since I was diagnosed that I’ve truly seen The Hubs happy, which makes my heart sing.
How long do I get to dance with NED? There’s no way to know. NED means my cancer is too small to see on a scan, but it doesn’t mean it’s totally gone. Someday it’ll come roaring back. But not today. Not today. Today we dance.