Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Flirting~


Really… he is just a big tease.  That Mr. NED that just subtly hints that he might be tapping me on the shoulder.  I've longed to dance with him, its true.  To have him fully envelope me in his safe and secure arms, if only for the briefest of spins around the dance-room floor.  

Mr. NED, or officially, "No Evidence of Disease" is what so many of us Stage 4 Breast Cancer Survivors hope to achieve one day.  Stage 4 doesn't have room for remission.  Remission is rare- so rare- that when the evidence of cancer is gone, its called "no evidence of disease," because its often a brief interlude.  A few weeks may pass, a few months it seems, and then cancer asserts itself again.  This is the nature of Stage 4 disease.  

So instead of remission, we long for a phase of NED.  

The page had barely gone out for Dr. Panwalkar yesterday, when he arrived in the exam room.  He greeted Rick and shook hands with both of us in one swift motion as he went to sit down.

I had come prepared and there was a rapid exchange of questions from me, answers from him and then return questions from him to me.  Back and forth we lobbied, covering a lot of ground quickly.  

He then asked for me to put on a gown so he could thoroughly examine me.  He checked for the radiated lymph node and smiled when he said he couldn't feel it.  "Is it gone?"  "I think it might be gone!" he proclaimed.

I told him I wasn't sure- sometimes a ghost of an outline seems to appear under my fingers, but its definitely only a hint at what once was a solid mass.

He then goes to find the new lump.  I gently nudge his fingers over when he doesn't quite have it and then his fingers deftly examine the entire spot.  

"Oh its small, he says, and movable."  


I then blurt out a random idea, "Do you think if its only one spot, we could have Dr. Bouton surgically remove it?"

His eyes widen as he smiles and nods affirmatively.  "Yes, that would work fine. Providing we don't find spots in other places, we could just have him remove that one."  

We'll do scans- an mri of your brain to check on it, and a ct scan of your chest to check on the new spot.

I suddenly remember to tell him about my hair.  

"May I look?"  he says, sounding surprised.  I tell him I've read that its a rare side-effect of Tykerb.  I bow my head and tell him to go ahead and check.  He gently lifts my hair all throughout the front and sees the thin, bald spots.  He says we can do a steroidal cream if its continues and the spots become more pronounced.  He then realizes my hair is falling down over my eyes, and he graciously sweeps it back across my face so I can see.

Its always these moments when I felt "seen," as a person, instead of just a patient.  Such a simple gesture, that speaks to me.  

He then comes over to my side and says, "you know, your tumor markers have gone down into the normal range now."

"They have?"  Normal?  My markers fell to normal?  "Just as you predicted they would Dr. P.  You were right."

Its then I that I ask about my "dance partner," Mr. NED, standing just over Dr. P's shoulder.

"So if I didn't have this one pesky little spot?"  Would I…?"

I choke on the word. Will he say it?  Is this correct thinking on my part?

I finally mutter softly "Would I be considered NED?" 

"Yes, he laughs, yes, if the tumor marker is reliable it would suggest you don't have much in the way of disease right now."  

I sort of tuck that gem away- Mr. NED is indeed flirting with me. 

"We'll repeat the tumor marker tests in 3 weeks and go over your scans.

I would like you to stay on the Tykerb, even though I know you don't like it."  

Dr. P continues:

"Then, I am thinking you should have your ovaries out, and start Aromasin and Affinitor.  But we will talk more about that next time. " 

I am well past my scheduled time with him.  But he makes certain I don't have any more questions before he leads me out of the room.

He pauses side by side with me, before he turns to walk away, he reaches his arm around my shoulder hugging me and wishing me a Merry Christmas.  I reach my arm around his waist hugging him back, and wishing him the same.  I then look up to catch his eye and say "Thank you."  He smiles, nods and walks off.  





Our friends and family continue to bless us in such touching ways.  I can't begin to properly photograph all of them and do them any justice here, but rest assured I am writing out some heartfelt thank you notes and counting grace throughout many moments of my day. 

Love getting these necklaces from a friend.  The roads were icy and she bravely navigated her husband's work van to venture over to my house and gift me with these.  She knows these are a "God" thing as she hung unto them for an unknown reason and then discovered "Embrace" was my word.




The boys surprised me by putting the tree up after I attended a long weekend full of hockey games.  The cold in the ice arenas really settles deep within my bones and makes for a painful aftermath.  But the joy I felt upon seeing this truly made up for it.





I had a full day at Roger Maris yesterday, including a planning meeting that ran well into the afternoon. Its exciting to be asked to be part of some new and exciting developments at Sanford.

I arrived home just as the glorious sun was sinking below the horizon.  




I finally turned my phone back on as I climbed onto the bed.  My phone vibrated, buzzed, rang and sang, long and hard.  Unable to resist the calling of sleep any longer, I drifted off to sleep, saying thankful prayers for all the prayers offered up for me.









60 comments:

  1. So glad to hear this. I've been praying for you and will continue to. God Bless.

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    1. Thank you for the prayers- they continue to sustain me in so many ways and I certainly feel as though they are answered! God Bless you!

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  2. what WONDERFUL news! the carol, Good Christian Men Rejoice came to mind as I read your words, and what a gift getting that word from Dr. P must've been!

    cheering here in GA.

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    1. Hi Jenn- yes it so was- its an affirmation at least that I could be close to that for awhile. Time will tell, but I think for the moment its completely appropriate to celebrate the possibility!! Hugs friend!

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  3. I cannot even read your post through the tears are streaming down my face for you right now. God bless you in This special moment

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    1. Thank you Arie- thank you! God's blessings to you!

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  4. I cannot even read your post through the tears are streaming down my face for you right now. God bless you in This special moment

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  5. I love - absolutely LOVE the hope in this post!! Hope is an anchor for usre! My eyes filled with tears immediately!

    If i could, I would come embrace you in a BIG gentle hug! Please know I am sending one across the states! (((((((((hug)))))))))))))

    much love to you - much love!
    xo

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    1. Hope- yes Tiffany- its infused with hope and that is how I feel. I feel your love honey- always- big hugs right back to you!! All my love to you~

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  6. Vicky, oh, I have had this deep-down feeling that you are going to be the miracle girl. NED rocks, and he is getting terrifically close. I am thinking of the Sisters at Carmel, offering up their steady doses of prayers for you, and I just HAVE TO BELIEVE that prayers that heartfelt, sent up by the sacrificial hands of love, will have some big effect. Praising God today for this hope!!! Big hugs and Merry Christmas friend! The tree, by the way, is stunning!

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    1. Thank you Roxane- for every last word- they're so meaningful to me and I cherish each and every time you show up and share with me! May God bless you and yours as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus! Big hugs right back!

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  7. Well, I just did not know what to expect when I opened your blog, but what a FANTASTIC update. Seriously just could not be happier (or have breathed a bigger sigh of relief) for you. Merry, Merry Christmas!

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    1. You know I thought long and hard about using the analogy I did use- glad you took that leap of faith and decided to read :) I know how you know what this is like :) Merry Christmas indeed- love to you yours!

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  8. Oh my sweetheart!!!! What great flirting news!!! I am always with you and thinking of you!!!

    Many Bussals and all my love!
    Mimi

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    1. Hehe- yes Mimi- it is :) Thanks for being there for me- always!! All my love~

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  9. I LOVE reading this - what a fabulous message of hope from beginning til end. FABULOUS news :-)

    "A Thrill of Hope, a weary world rejoices ..." to quote the lovely hymn. I'm so happy.

    We, your people, will keep on praying, Vicky. God bless you and your family :-)

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    1. Susan- I love having "you the people," praying and keeping on helping me to do the same. God bless you friend!

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  10. God gave you an early Christmas present. Wonderful news.

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  11. Woooo hooooo .... keep flirting with NED - I know Superman won't mind!!! You need an intimate and very long dance after having been kept sitting on the treatment sidelines for so long. Keep doing what you are doing and keep being so authentically and beautifully you and NED will not be able to resist.

    I'm so happy for you, I feel like I just received an early xmas present!

    Warm embrace.

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    1. Bonnie- exactly- Superman is completely on board :) I think you and all the others who so faithfully show up here and send out healing wishes and prayers truly have made a difference in my life! I wouldn't be here without all of you! Warm embraces right back to you~

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  12. My dear,
    I'm sooooo happy to read this!!!
    You are always on my mind and in my prayers of course!!!
    All the best for you,
    hugs and kisses,
    Barbara♥♥♥

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    1. So thankful sweet friend to be in your thoughts and prayers- couldn't do this without all of you!

      Bussals!
      Vicky

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  13. Wonderful news Vicky! Beaming w/happiness for you! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Thank you Cheri- so appreciate your warm wishes and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  14. ohhhhhhhhhhh Vicky!!! oh honey...oh...my goodness...His goodness. How I'm giving thanks tonight for this news dear friend xo

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    1. Sweet friend- warms my heart to have you here sharing in His goodness with me. I'm joining you in giving thanks- love you sweetie :)

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  15. That Ned, he can flirt with you more often, and Superman won't even mind! So thankful for your best hopefulness. The greatest Christmas gifts are the ones you get to experience more than just one morning of the year.

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    1. So true Marcy! A big dose of hopefulness is a treasure for sure :) I pray you are doing well- it was so good to hear from you! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  16. I sit here..and all of a sudden my husband here's me proclaim..oh it's Wednesday...I have to go check on Vicky...he smiles..knowing..yet not knowing! I find myself in blog land and you...and as I read I smile..I smile so big...at your words and the teasing of Mr. NED..then I read more words..and YES MR NED is teasing and I fall in love with your word choice..and then you continue on..and I read and tears come..at the gifts..the tree all set to go...the knecklace..and well...the beauty in all you write...Loved this post...love the Mr. NED is teasing and Love just you!!!

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    1. You're so sweet Peggy- you make me smile the whole way through reading your words :) Love you too sweet friend- thinking of you this holiday season. Praying you are filled with sweet memories, and comfort and peace :)

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  17. I hung on to every word you wrote. I love this post.....so much to be thankful for. Hugs to you Vicky.

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    1. Lisa- so much truly to be thankful for- including you! Hugging you right back friend!

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  18. 'Tis the Christmas season after all. A season of miracles. What a wonderful Christmas gift to receive. Sending love and hugs!

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    1. The best gift- truly-I've been a lucky girl as of late and I feel so blessed. Sending love and hugs back to you sweet friend!

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  19. I am so thrilled that you are flirting with NED. He's an evasive guy...but dang...you have been chasing him and I hope and pray he is ready. It would be simply amazing! I will continue to pray and pray for NED to wrap his arms around you.

    Love your beautiful tree, and that your boys decorated it for you. Christmas blessings are all around us!

    Love, hugs and prayers!

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    1. He is evasive, isn't he? We will see- but just knowing NED is even in the realm of possibilities sure keeps the hope alive :) Love and hugs to you!

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  20. Merry Merry !! I am so happy for you.

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    1. Thank you Sue! Merry Christmas to you!

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  21. This is splendid news. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Thank you Susan- I pray that you as well have a wonderful Christmas!

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  22. As Ii was reading NED, I thought what a funny name…but now I am thinking it is GLORIOUS!!! Made me weep with joy for you (and your family!). Praying ahead for the next test and that NED will finally be a real dance partner.

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    1. Thank you so much Jenny- I so appreciate your thoughtful prayers and well wishes! God's blessings to you and yours!

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  23. We're feeling your strength and joy and LIGHT in Scotland! March on. Good work Girl!!!! Good work!!! In the arms of the Father there is love like no other!!!

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    1. Hi sweet friend- so great to hear from you! You are so speaking the truth- thankful for your sweet words! God's blessings to you and the rest and wishes for a Merry Christmas!!

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  24. For some reason today I cry when I read. You go through so much and my heart is with you. I cannot imagine. I am glad you go through Christmas days with this news. X

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    1. Oh Maddy Christine- I'm so touched by your heartfelt words- I am right there with you! Hugs to you friend! I pray you are doing well :)

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    2. Doing much better! Some natural supplements helped me over my issues for now. Reason to celebrate life. 4 months now without the roller coaster, if you know what I mean ;-)

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  25. This is great news for Christmas. I am so happy for you.
    The tree looks lovely Your boys did a great job.
    xoxox

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    1. Vic- truly it is! The boys did a great job and have been so helpful in getting things ready for Christmas :)

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  26. I am VERY happy Vicky! May God continue to bless you :)

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    1. Sweet friend- so glad to hear from you!! How are you? I pray you are doing well! I think of you often and am so delighted each time you drop in and let me know you were here. Love and blessings to you sweet one!!

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  27. What a gift for the holiday season! I say flirt right back with Mr. NED. Superman won't mind at all.

    Your tree is beautiful -

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    1. Thanks Karen!! Superman is indeed on board :)

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  28. Such GREAT news Vicky! I am so very happy for you and your family! Please know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers! Have a wonderful Christmas!

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  29. Oh my sweet Vicky, I am crying tears of joy. Have been away for a few days due to my Aunt passing away but to read this wonderful post brings such joy and thanks and praise. Merry CHRISTmas!

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  30. i have tears in my eyes....as happy news always does that to me.
    happy news for the happiest of holidays....xo

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  31. I am Embracing NED in my heart for you. So...so....so touching that Dr P pushing your hair out of your face and gives you a Merry Christmas hug.

    Merry Christmas, Vicky. Your blog is stunning in every way.

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  32. Oh bless your sweet heart dear Vicky. I am believing for NED. I will keep praying. You are never far from my heart. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! I had a CT of the abdomen recently because of some nagging symptoms. First of all, it's all good. But it did show a mass on my left ovary. You can imagine my surprise since I have no ovaries!!! So an ultrasound followed and proved that it was just a loop of bowel or some such thing. You are one of the few people I know that will get the feeling of waiting to know. It also revealed a couple other spots indicative of metastatic disease that were apparently there in 2009, but are now gone. Confusing as I've never been given a stage 4 diagnosis. Oh well, I'll take it! Miraculous or a bad radiologist??? I also have some sort of benign thing in my spine that seems to stay in check as long as I keep gluten out of my diet. So that's my update. Love and blessings to you!!!

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  33. Just thrilled, Vicky, to think of NED signing your dance card and all the spots that come after. Want to see you sailing away in his arms. I want you to know that I play and sing with a friend who is a fiddler and she had Stage IV breast cancer in 99. She had a mastectomy and went through a long and arduous battle but she has been dancing with NED for nigh on 13 years now. We just played together at a family bash on Saturday night. She has a few bothersome side effects that rear their heads every now and again but nothing that can't be managed. You are next. And the boys did a fantastic job on that tree!

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