The Stakes

I had my 4 month scans this past Monday. They let me leave afterwards, which I always want to believe bodes well. My CA125 was 15–I prefer it in the single digits, but 15 is still comfortably normal. It was 11 the last time I had it checked. I’ve been having some aches and pains. I’m pretty sure that it’s just from wearing tight pants. Today I woke up with a scratchy throat and a little bit of post-nasal drip. A cold coming on? Inflammation and a cold can both cause the CA125 to be higher. Back when I had my e-coli infection during treatment, the number shot up to 19, and then went back down. I think too much.

The thing is: the path that my life takes, quite literally, twists and turns around whether or not my scans are clean. I go back for my follow-up next week, and I still have every right to hope that the news will be good. Unless my scan looked terrible, and they didn’t want to ruin my Christmas–except that I’m Jewish, and I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I digress. What does a clean scan mean? That I get “cleared” to live 4 more cancer-free months: that’s the entire spring semester at Berklee. That’s 4 more months of professional, personal and artistic growth. 4 more months of hair. 4 more months of feeling well. 4 more months of sweating the small stuff. 4 more months where I get to inhabit a dream world where the cancer never comes back; where I get to have an actual FUTURE, rather than just try to live the best I can between relapses. That is what’s at stake. This is why I live from scan to scan. I never want to back to the shadow world of the sick. I want to live and love big, in the bright sunlight, where there are no real problems, only possibilities.

I get home from my holiday vacation tomorrow, at which time I’ll start baking cookies for my Mercy Family. More specifically, for the GYN Oncology Center, the Oncology Inpatient Floor, Interventional Radiology, Harriet, my ostomy nurse, and the Outpatient Chemo Department. I enjoy visiting these days. These are the best human beings this planet has to offer, and Mercy is a pretty cool place to be, when nobody’s chasing you around with sharp objects and cold hands.


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