In two days, a year will have passed since I crawled in to the chemo suite and begged them to start dumping poison into me with the goal to cure my disease. That’s what the Doctor wrote – “Goal: Cure.” I said to the nurse: “He just wrote that because that’s what you write at the beginning of a treatment plan like this.”, implying that he didn’t really mean it. I was in an awful state of mind. She said he wouldn’t have written it if he didn’t believe it to be a strong possibility. It gave me hope at a time when it felt like I would be dead in just a few short weeks if I didn’t get treatment.
Since then, I’ve joined a few Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma groups on FB and other sites. These groups, for the most part, have been encouraging and informative, and promote a feeling of togetherness, or at least not feeling alone. And I’m not one to write much on these sites, and especially not one to start a conversation, but reading about people’s experiences, recoveries, challenges, fears, hopes, and plans for the future has really helped me.
In addition to my cyber “friends”, I’m also so lucky to have a friend who had this disease who has been through so much, including a nine-year remission period with a relapse, and a few stem cell transplants. I know it hasn’t been easy for him, especially since he has young kids, but he is so willing to share his experiences, both in emails and by phone, his eternal thoughts for hope, and also some tears with me as we both try to live each day with gratefulness and faith.
I saw my hematologist yesterday for my three-month check-up. No scans this time, but blood work. He told me that all of my results are back to within normal limits, and because I don’t have any tell-tale lymphoma symptoms, he has recommended three more months until another check-up. So, another PET scan is in my future, and then a meeting with my MD. I anticipate a restless week prior to my next appointment, filled with “what if’s”. Scanxiety and scanticipation are two words that my cyber friends talk a lot about. I understand their meanings all too well.
At the end of the emails that my friend sends me, he always writes; “Keep the faith.” I’m forever indebted to him for his willingness to promote hope. You see, my friend and I are not really “friends”. We’ve never actually met in person, but we are connected in a way that meeting in person is not necessary to be pals.
He is my friend, and we’re both keeping the faith.
And that’s enough for today.