Those where the oncologist’s words. I just received a phone call from him with my PCR test results—a big fat “0″ in the 10,000 cells that were analyzed. In other words, the results were resoundingly and unmistakably negative. I wish I had a photo of some fireworks, or something. This will have to do:
My cancer card has been revoked, and I happily hand it back to the universe.
“To detect the t(15;17) (q22;q11-21) translocation that is characteristic of acute promyelocytic leukemia, flourescent in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed. Two probes were used in the analysis; one detects the PML locus in G-band 15q22 and the second detects the RARA locus in G-band 17q21.1. The five hundred analyzable interphase nuclei showed no statistical evidence of a PML/RARA fusion signal pattern.“
That, my friends, is taken from the lab report, summarizing my bone marrow study. In other words, not only am I in remission, I am in molecular remission. I still feel like crap from last week’s chemotherapy, so the real celebration won’t begin until I can actually crack open a cold one (and I may actually wait until they remove my hickman line), but there’s no denying the wonderful feeling of relief accompanied by this news.
This morning, before leaving for the hospital, we noticed that our little monarch chrysalis was about to transform. Unfortunately, we didn’t see the butterfly emerge, but she was there waiting for us when we came home. How fitting, even though quite cliché, that we witness this final stage of metamorphosis upon our return.
Met with the oncologist on Friday, and even though my body is still taking its time to get the white blood count up, he thought I was ready to start my second round of consolidation on Monday. So, what do you do to prepare for another round of chemotherapy? You do whatever you can to enjoy the days leading up to it, because chances are it’s going to suck (I think that’s actual medical terminology) again.
So, we did what any normal couple would do on a beautiful summer Sunday. We prepared a picnic and headed for the park.
After a hearty lunch, a chapter or two and a leisure stroll back to the car, we stopped at the Birchwood for treats (key lime pie for me, carrot cake for Virginia) and iced coffee.
Back at home, the afternoon was still beckoning us to stay outdoors, so we sat out on the deck and created some scratchcrafty goodness (for those new to this blog, that’s typically spinning and knitting around here).
Note about the yarn: The spinning of this yarn was interrupted back in March, but I decided to take advantage of feeling energized and finish it up today. This is a skein of 3-ply superwash colonnial wool, spun from about 3 oz. of dyed top, totaling 330 yards. Surprisingly, I was able to keep it the same wpi’s as when I first started. Some skills don’t get rusty, even with cancer.
Speaking of which… nah, I’ll stop talking about that for now and just enjoy the rest of the evening. I think there’s probably some more spinning on tap and an episode or two of The Avengers.
After being sprung from the hospital on Tuesday, I was greeted in our yard by all manner of spring things in the process of renewal. As the days wore on during this last stay, I had a feeling I would miss out on the most exciting time of the year (as far as our yard is concerned). Granted, I did miss out on the crab apple and most of the tulips, but there are still enough reminders around me to illustrate the ever-growing and renewing side of nature. I feel a bit more compelled this year to take that all in, to appreciate it just a bit more, and to let it translate to my own body. Spring is the time for overcoming odds, for taking the energy that has been stored for the past 5 months (or 8 if you live in Minnesota) and converting it to something like this:
I have one more round of chemotherapy to go (fingers crossed) — most likely to start in two weeks or so. But, I am encouraged and renewed by the sight of these things.