NED Maintenance

Jan 07

I was going to call this post “Cancer Maintenance”, but then I realized that made no sense because I HAVE NO CANCER.

It still makes me feel so happy to type that.  Cancer free.

NED.  No evidence of disease.

::Frolick and happy dance commence.::

I’m in a routine right now for NED maintenance:

I see Dr. Wonderful, my oncologist and the quarterback of my medical team, every week.  He and Nurse Practitioner Rockstar check my weight, blood pressure, pulse, temperature, oxygen saturation, lungs, heart, and surgical site.  After they finish their exam and we chat about vacations and family, I head over to the Chemo Room.  I pick one of the ten recliners, and wave to my friends along the way.  Since I go to the same office every week, I know most of the patients and all of the nurses.  I sit down in the chair and wait for the nurses to access my port (which means stick an IV needle through my skin into my port).  Soon, they hang a bag of Herceptin on the IV pole, and I “drip” for about an hour.  I get to talk to my friends, rest in a recliner under a warm blanket, and have drinks and snacks served to me.  Once the Herceptin is all in, I am de-accessed, and I say my good-byes and I leave.  I like going to my oncology office.  They are my friends.

I see Dr. Gold, my cardiologist, every three months.  I also get an echocardiogram every three months to track my heart function.  I take pills daily, and so far, my heart function has been restored to normal ranges as long as I take the pills.  Since I have to take some pills in the morning, mid-day, and nighttime, I found I had to get a pill box (one of those boxes with little compartments for the days of the week: SMTWTFS).  Because I found that my mommy/chemo brain is incapable of remembering whether or not I took a pill four hours ago.  Dr. Gold’s main job is to keep my heart on track so that I can continue to receive Herceptin (Herceptin can decrease heart function).  So far, so good.  Yippee!

I see Dr. Razzle, my radiation oncologist, every three months.  She wants to keep an eye on the radiation site, and, since I just really like her, it is a fun appointment to go to.  Greta usually comes with me to these appointments because they are so low key and social.  I like showing G off, and having a toddler in the Radiation Oncology suite is a mental boost for employees and patients alike.  It makes me really happy to bring smiles to people who are feeling physically crappy.

I see Dr. Awesome, my surgeon, every six months.  She wants to keep an eye on the surgery site, and, as with the rest of my team, I really like her.  I always leave her office feeling like I just had coffee with a good friend.  I’m pretty sure that my rapport with my doctors is crazy blessed.

Soon, in early February, I will have my first post-NED PET scan.  It’s the nuclear scan where I’m injected with radioactive material, then I have to lie still for an hour while it marinates, then I am put into a machine that takes pictures of the radioactive material and how it behaves inside me.  Any fast-growing cells (ie, cancer) are lit up by the radioactive material and appear as hot spots (bright spots) on the scan.  We are praying relentlessly for a clean PET scan in February.

A clean scan means that I am still cancer free.

Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.  —Isaiah 41:10

 

7 comments

  1. Marlayne Skeens /

    Hey Jen, I use one of those S.M.T.W.TH.F.S BOXES ~ I don’t have cancer; however, I still need a reminder to take my meds :-) It is so good to hear NED from you !!!!!!! Continued Prayers & Blessings :-)

  2. Amamda /

    What is your oncologist reasoning for the PET. I have been told no PET unless symptoms warrant because the additional radiation can cause other cancer? I know all situations are different.

  3. Pat Powell /

    Beautifully written Jennifer as usual – my prayers and love are with you every day Love your Ma XXXXXX

  4. Still praying. No fear!

  5. Angela /

    I’ve been reading your journey for many months now & i’m just so happy to hear that you are doing great! I am one of your silent, unseen chearleaders…but I am here rooting for you always :)

  6. Sharon Hajek /

    Loved reading NED maintenance. Especially love visualizing Greta’s joyous, free, loving spirit spreading to welcoming hearts.

  7. That Bible verse is one I gave to friends on Thursday morning. It’s good for NED, it’s good for cancer, it’s good for the living and the dying.
    You ARE crazy blessed, and I love that you know it, that you bring G with you to appointments to bless others. God most certainly has a specific purpose for you.