Well... it is official. I am currently at no evidence of disease (N.E.D.). It appears that we have successfully kicked cancer out of my ass, and the rest of me as well! My latest PET scan is unequivocally clean and my blood counts are already very close to normal levels.
Virtual high-five to all!
My oncologist wants to see me every three months for an examination and a blood draw. They'll now be watching for CEA tumor markers in my blood work. If they start to rise then there is possible trouble. This is especially good for catching cancer activity in the liver, which is a prime location for more metastases. I will get a PET scan every six months. We'll continue on this regimen until, as my doctor said this morning, "we get bored." At least a couple of years. If things go the way we want them to, then all of these regular appointments will show nothing new and I'm cured of this bloody disease. The huge shadow of cancer has now lifted from my worldview. However it has left a smaller, very insidious, smaller shadow called recurrence. That is a fear that I will have to learn to live around. I've already accepted it in some ways, but the grip of it is still too strong on my heart. I yet have work to do.
It's extraordinarily weird to be here. I expected this news and was just waiting for my suspicion to be confirmed. But now that I have it, I don't really know what to do with it. Cancer has defined my days for a long time. Time to move on to another "new normal." I've kind of already been doing that. Taking my days and doing what I wish with them. Summer plans all over the place. And I have the freedom to start planning bigger trips now. It is actually a bit overwhelming, this new phase.
For now I think I'll focus on the victory. We did it folks! I'm cancer free and nearly fully healthy again. Of course I got a sore throat yesterday that is persisting; but that is balance for you. My new best friend NED and I are going to spread the news and be joyous.