Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Monday I had a PET scan and on Tuesday I got the word that it showed no cancer.

This was totally unexpected by me. I had told Anne and Julia, who went with me, not to expect good news.

Of course, I had had nice daydreams where Dr Georgios told me that, but mostly I imagined this meeting where I got bad news and I thought how I would handle it. I hoped that the cancer he found would be small enough for surgery.

Monday Julia took me to the Imaging Center at the hospital. I can drive now but Julia has gone to so many appointments with me that I guess she just wants to see it to the end, and, in my book, Julia has been so good to me that Julia gets what she wants.

I previously had a PET scan last fall which pinpointed exactly where the cancers were in my neck. For the PET scan, first I go into a small room, nicely decorated, with credenza, lamp, and recliner.

The nurse puts some fluid into my arm. Then she turns the light off and leaves me lying back on the recliner for 45 minutes. The first time I went I thought I would read during this time, but I can do nothing. I think I went to sleep both times.

The radioactive stuff they put into my veins is picked up by active cells. Since the cancer cells are fast growing, they grab more of the dye and thus show up on the PET scan.

Eventually the nurse came back and took me to the scan room. The PET scan looks very similar to the CT scan. I lie down on the narrow bed and then I go back and forth into the doughnut for about 15 minutes.

By the way, my nurse was blonde, blue eyed, and stunningly beautiful.

I didn't worry that much about the results because I was so sure that the news would be bad.

Monday night Anne drove down from Nashville.

The last time my news was so critical was last summer when that PET scan revealed that the cancer had not spread beyond my neck. If it had, my life would be over in months.

I gave Anne the good news that time by phone. She was in a teacher training session. She had just been called upon and was in front of all the other teachers showing teaching techniques, when her phone rang.

She just said "I'm sorry, but I have to take that." And she walked out.

But this time she took a day off to go with me.

When my children are here, I feel like a child, an eager child. Anne sleeps late when here, especially when she is by herself. So Tuesday morning, I am all excited, wanting to spend time with her.

Finally she does get up and we had a good morning together.

We drive to Jackson in her car, to my old haunt, the radiology department at the hospital. It doesn't take long to get in the treatment room and then Dr. Georgios comes in with the good news.

He mentions that there is a small chance of a false negative or maybe there are small cancers. I know that but this is the best news we could have gotten. In mathematics we call this "necessary but not sufficient."

Anne kept trying not to cry. We were all jubilant.

This is one of those occasions where you feel it is only appropriate to go out to eat to celebrate. Alas, I have a feeding tube and can't.

I did go out with the Ruckers once. I got a Dr. Pepper.

Anne and I stopped at WalMart. I bought a bookcase and gifts for her children. She left not long after we got home.

I haven't fully realized what this means. I need to put more effort into exercise and getting off the feeding tube. What else I don't know.

I am so grateful to all my friends and relatives who prayed for me, visited, sent cards, and letters, etc. It helped.

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