So I had a follow-up appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute a few days ago. It has been a year and four months since my stem cell transplant (using my brother’s cells) to knock out my Leukemia. I wasn’t expecting any major news and indeed, the doctor was very pleased with my progress.
They did however spring a bone marrow biopsy on me. Surprise! That is where they drill into your back hip bone and pull out some marrow for evaluation. It is the most accurate way they have to test what is actually going on in your bone marrow. As you can imagine, the procedure is not a lot of fun but I have been through enough of them that it is now somewhat tolerable. In fact, I joke that I have had enough of those biopsies that they ought to make everyone’s life easier and just install a beer tap back there.
While I haven’t been up nights worrying about a recurrence of my Leukemia, it is always in the back of your mind playing the “what if” game. Like a Whack-a-Mole game it pops up when you are thinking of other things, usually late at night, and then you can’t ignore the train of thought. Then you have to work very hard to not let it take off and snowball into a mountain of worry.
So when the nurse from Duke called me yesterday to give me the preliminary results from my biopsy, I fought off a minor anxiety attack and took the call. Needless to say, I was very happy to hear there is currently no sign of Leukemia or Multiple Myeloma in my bone marrow. Whew! I knew that was what they were going to say. Yeah, right!
You know what it feels like to have a really big weight taken off your shoulders? It is amazing to me how a mental game like this can so greatly affect the way you look at everything. It is all part of the emotional yo-yo ride you live on when you have cancer. I think the best answer is to enjoy what we have and make the most out of each day. I know that sounds corny and over-simplistic, but to me it really is the truth.