Once more we go to BCCA for my check with Dr. Sheila…. and once more all is well. It seems like such a long time since this process started.

If I remain well this is the last time I will see Dr. Sheila. And it’s bittersweet. I’m happy to be well and to remain well, but I have really appreciated her care of  me. I tell her that I know she was just doing her job… but it’s how the job was done that made a difference to me. She didn’t feed me any bullshit. She treated me with respect. That’s all I can ask. Future follow-ups will be done by my family doctor, Dr. Val. However, if anything doesn’t seem right I’ll be able to get in to see Dr. Sheila right away.

Afterward we go to Zambri’s for lunch and then come home to rest. Tonight we’ll have friends over for a few drinks and a little celebration of my remission. Life is good. Let it continue.



2 Year Checkup is Coming

Last friday I had blood taken and my two year checkup is coming on November 5. Wish me luck. There’s no reason to worry but worry I will.

Once again Dr. Sheila is smiling when she comes into the examining room. I feel good. My test results are good. Neutrophils are normal (3.6). I have the option of seeing Dr. Sheila one last time for a routine check at two years and I take it. After that I will be checked by my family doctor. However, should anything seem amiss either with my test results or how I feel I will be in to see Dr. Sheila immediately.

Once again there is a surprisingly emotional release of stress for both Cass and I. For some reason the edge of this anxiety does not seem to get dull with time. Not yet anyway.

We treat ourselves to lunch at Zambri’s and dinner at Brasserie L’Ecole. The next routine check will be in November. We have our fingers crossed in hopes that November will bring us two years of remission.

“Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.” WS

In prep for my 20 month lymphoma check, Cass takes me to the Royal Jubilee Hospital outpatient lab at 7am to get my blood taken. Afterward we go to Pure Vanilla for coffee and scones and now I’m back to work for the day. The appointment with Dr. Sheila, my oncologist, will be this Friday morning so I’ll post my results at that time. Let the pre-test anxiety begin.

I’m talking about anxiety in the previous paragraph but I have to admit that there are now days and even weeks when I “forget” that I had HL. The human brain is a wonderful thing. For a year my thoughts were completely occupied with cancer… my treatment, my prognosis, its affects on my loved ones and my professional career, etc. The changes in attitude towards my life and what it means remain with me… but the worry about the cancer… rightly or wrongly… is largely diminished and often absent.

I am “expecting” to be NED (no evidence of disease) this Friday morning. This is a good thing I suppose… but it will also be a huge disappointment if Dr. Sheila comes in and says, “Tom, there are a few of your blood test results that concern me. There’s nothing to worry about at this point but we’ll need to do some further tests to make sure that everything is still going well.” Ech. But… like I said… I’m not expecting that.

So, at least until Friday, we will return to the life that was previously scheduled for this time slot.

Cass and I are sitting in the exam room at the BC Cancer Centre. I’ve taken my weight. I’m 225 lbs, no change from last check up, which pisses me off because of how much I’ve been exercising. I suppose the exercise can only offset the amount of beer and wine I drink to some extent. However, the beer and wine and good food are so much a part of what it’s worth living for, for me, so I’m going to go easy on myself for now.

Dr. Sheila breezes in and shakes our hands. She’s smiling… that’s always a good sign when seeing your oncologist. She asks me how I feel to which I answer ,”Fabulous”. She says I look good in real life and that my paperwork looks good too. She thumps my back and chest. She feels my throat, neck, armpits and groin. She palpates my liver and spleen. I’m a “good patient”. Everything is the size and shape that it’s supposed to be.

And there it is. 16 months in remission. Tearful hugs all around for the “participants” in this version of the “someone in the family has cancer” home game. Tonight we’ll have a well deserved bachannalia with friends. I remain, as always… the “for now lump free” Tom.

“I’m viewed as this weird, crippled character. But you got to take your lumps.” Billy Corgan

I was silent as a child, and silenced as a young woman; I am taking my lumps and bumps for being a big mouth, now, but usually from those whose opinion I don’t respect.” Sandra Cisneros

On Our Way

I just wanted to leave a quick note that Cass and I are leaving for my 16 month check. We’ll have breakfast at John’s Place and then to the BC Cancer Centre for my appointment with Dr. Sheila. I’ll post when we get back.

“Anxiety is the space between the “now” and the “then.”” Richard Abell

16 Month Check Anxiety

It’s 10 days before my 16 month check with Dr. Sheila. This Friday I will have blood taken and the Friday afterward I will get the results and be poked and prodded at the cancer centre. I have no reason for anxiety. I feel well. My physical body seems to be in as good condition as I could hope at this point. However, the anxiety is there.

We have some news. There’s a new puppy in our lives. Her name is Daisy and she is an 11 week old Jack Russell Terrier. Poor Otis has had his life turned upside down. She is as evil/cute as a JRT puppy should be. I’ll post again after the blood test and again after my check up. Wish me luck.