Today is my very first NED-iversary (also known as my cancer-free anniversary).
Forgive me while I imagine a balloon cascade, confetti galore, trumpets sounding, and angels singing. Because that’s what I’m doing. All. Day. Long. There is a spotlight from heaven above shining upon me and I am leaving actual sparkles wherever I go.
While I put Maren on the bus, and pack her lunch. While I play with Greta. While I take a walk with my friend. All around me: balloons, confetti, trumpets, angels.
There are days that I’ll always remember: water-skiing as a child, my first play in a Varsity match, walking onto my college campus for the first time, meeting Brad, our wedding day, Maren’s birth, Greta’s birth, and my NED day. NED ranks up there with the most glorious moments of my life.
Balloons, confetti, trumpets, angels. It’s an amazing day.
One year ago today I got the call from Dr. Awesome, my surgeon, that the pathology report showed clean margins after my double mastectomy. This meant that I had No Evidence of Disease (NED); it is the prize every cancer patient dreams about.
The call came four weeks after I completed 20 weeks of chemotherapy. (End result: Chemo killed the cancer cells.)
The call came after two PET scans and a bunch of follow up scans–especially my spine and liver which showed “suspicious spots”. (End result: My body showed no evidence of metastases.)
The call came after a bi-lateral mastectomy surgery. (End result: Dr. Awesome cut the cancer out.)
You can see why I was eagerly anticipating this call. I’d been through a lot. Throughout my diagnosis and treatment, my medical team had been quite careful to never tell me “it will be okay” or “we have every reason to hope” or “good statistics” or “early detection”. Those feel good phrases just weren’t used for me: we all knew that if I was to be cancer free, it would be by the grace of God and a straight up miracle. So this NED news is what I had been praying for all that time. Many of you joined me in those prayers. (Thank you!)
I was five days post-op when I got the call. I was staying at my parent’s house instead of at my house because I was in no shape to run my household, especially with then-sixteen-month-old Greta in the mix. SuperGramma and Daddy were running the show at my house. On the day after Labor Day, I found myself watching Downton Abbey episodes and eyeing the clock. Dr. Awesome told me she’d call on that day to give me my pathology report. I was edgy and fidgety; I prayed a lot that day.
She called me mid-afternoon. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. A choking, gasping sigh of relief, actually. There is a chasm of emotion between Cancer and Cancer Free. Dr. Awesome said she had to call the lab three times that day before they had the pathology ready for her. She is a fierce advocate for her patients and I feel fortunate to be one of her patients.
Today I celebrate one whole year of No Evidence of Disease. One whole year. Cue the…
Angels, singing Hallelujah!
Thank you Jesus.
I’m celebrating by squeezing my children tightly today, by doing today well, by going on a NED-iversary date with my husband this weekend, by LIVING. There but for the grace of God go I.