I once heard that the average dream only lasts 9 seconds. Isn’t it ironic that nightmares last so long. My nightmare started September 29th 2008 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer and it lasted until June 22nd 2011 when every shred was gone.
Even though I’m saying my nightmare is over, I guess ‘once a cancer patient always a cancer patient’. From the time you hear ‘I’ve got some bad news for you’ your entire world is shaken off its axis. That innocence, that feeling of invincibility is gone. It leaves an insecure, defenseless, powerless feeling for your future. Every time you envision yourself or look in the mirror you see a body being overtaken by that monster living inside of you. Your body image is destroyed. You know your life will never be the same. You will never see yourself the same again. But I am here to tell you it does not have to be that way!
Monday, June 20, 2011, I was scheduled for another MRI of the abdomen and a chest x-ray. It had been 9 months since my last scan. When the enhancing lesion in my liver stabilized at 5mm in diameter in September 2010 I decided to reduce my peroxide dose frequency even further to just twice a week because I assumed that what was still visible on MRI was just the leftover vasculature and any cancer cells were gone. So as the days approached for my most recent scan I started second guessing my decision. And on top of that my CEAs in March and June were both 1.6 which was my highest ever although still considered normal. Did I do the right thing by reducing the peroxide to twice a week? It is so difficult treating yourself! Nine months is a long time to take a chance with something as dangerous of a metastatic lesion in your liver. However I stuck with that dose to practice as closely as possible some sort of scientific method. But was I doing the right thing?
Thank God I had my great long-time (I don’t want to say old) friend visiting from California the week preceding the tests to keep my mind off the upcoming events. I knew either way, whether the lesion was the same size or had it gotten bigger, the results could dramatically affect my life.
In early 2010 when I started seeing positive results from the peroxide on the previous MRIs I was ecstatic. A flicker of that invincibility was back. I was certain that the peroxide therapy was working. However since it was 9 months from the last scan I was very nervous about these results, it seemed that there was possibly too much time for the tumor to start growing at the low dose of peroxide. So the day I retrieved the verdict I was a bundle of nerves, sweaty palms, weak in the knees, the whole deal. I didn’t know if I even wanted to know the results! But the not knowing was horrible too. As I finally got up the nerve and read the results I couldn’t believe my eyes! Comparing with 9/2010 and 10/2009 scans it read, “The small enhancing lesion seen previously… is no longer evident on today’s scan.” And both the chest x-ray and the MRI showed no active disease. It was GONE! This wasn’t even in my thoughts as being a possibility being on the lower dose of peroxide! In my mind the best case scenario was that it would be the same size. My nightmare is OVER! Thank you, God!
And when you really think about it, I’m even better off than if the lesion never showed up. I know that sounds strange to say, but if I had just completed my chemotherapy and was being monitored for mets, I would never be sure it was gone. The shadow would be forever lurking over me. When would something show up? Will it ever be gone for good? But having the lesion and finding a treatment and successfully overcoming it to the point it is GONE restores my confidence that I can beat it and have beat it and any other cancer cells that may be lurking.
It’s so hard to believe the nightmare is over. Even now, I’m pinching myself in case its a dream. But it’s not! I’m awake! I have my life back. Plus I have all the scans on CD and lab results to prove the nightmare did exist and now the reality, that its GONE!