Actually, the correct term to use is NED (No Evidence of Disease) – cancer survivors tend to steer away from that other C-word. But imagine my surprise, after spending almost two hours with Ricardo yesterday morning, with him very patiently explaining everything about my case, to find out that I’ve been NED since the biopsy reports came back last October, which was then reconfirmed by the third operation. This is the short version of el caso az

  • primary stage IV colon tumour and surrounding lymph nodes removed
  • two secondary tumours found in liver
  • two months of chemo
  • liver resection aborted after discovery of peritoneal lesions
  • all biopsy results negative
  • PET scan shows liver metastasis eliminated after chemo
  • third operation to “clean up” liver and peritoneum
  • peritoneal lesions turn out to be benign scar tissue
  • all biopsy results negative
  • “wait & watch” – testing every 3 months
  • high probability of recurrence

It ain’t perfect, especially that last bit,
but at least for now I feel like I have my life back …

So, no more chemo. At least not until I get the results of my next CT scan, which will be on January 29th. If something shows up on the scan then I’ll be back on the surgery/chemo rollercoaster.  If not, I think I will probably take Ricardo’s advice to “wait and watch”, unless some further evidence presents itself in the next two weeks. And I guess that’s the way my life is going to be from now on, always hoping that the next round of tests (every 3 months for the next two years, then every 6 months) won’t show any signs of recurrence.

If the biopsy results had come back positive during the last operation then chemo would have been recommended. And so, the reason for not doing more chemo is simply because there is no evidence of disease. And, according to Ricardo, there is no scientific evidence that backs up doing “just in case” chemo to help prevent recurrence when someone has been NED for as long as I have been.

Meanwhile, there is a very high chance of recurrence in the next two years. So much so that Ricardo says I should expect that it will happen again, but I should also know that when it happens it will be treatable, especially because of my “extraordinary” response to chemotherapy. And so it’s “wait and watch” and get on with my life.

I still don’t know how to feel about this. On the one hand I am very relieved not to have to go through any more chemo right now – I can’t tell you how much I was dreading it.  And I am really looking forward to living a normalish life again, not as someone constantly recovering from operations or being sick on chemo.  But knowing that it’s probably not over yet leaves me feeling somewhat subdued, though I don’t want the fear of it happening again to overshadow the healthy days I have ahead.  As much as I can I want to just focus on the present and live each “three month installment” to the fullest.

So now I am especially glad that I started back to yoga classes, and next week I even have a couple of English classes lined up. It’s going to take awhile to sort out the work thing since Nog now has some of my students and others I’ve contacted may or may not be coming back in February. I’ll also be working on the ideas that Lizzie sent me about turning the tapas blog and my natural clothing store into money making ventures. I actually quite fancy the idea of having more than one iron in the fire in terms of work. And I need to get some money coming in so I can get myself over to Greece this June

What a ride it’s been, eh guys? I honestly don’t know how I would have got through all of this without you, so thank you all once again for your constant support. And although it’s not over yet at least it should be less of a rollercoaster, with only possibly scary bits every three months or so. Fingers crossed for the 29th!