Alright, y'all. It's official. I had my post surgery follow up appointment with Dr. O this morning, and the news is as good as we had hoped. There were zero cancer cells left in my tissue, and she has deemed it a Pathological Complete Response (PCR). Hallelujah! The cancer is GONE.
Dr. Dao (surgeon) called me with this news right before Thanksgiving, but I was a little nervous to share it with all of you until I could have Dr. O (oncologist) explain it to me completely. So, now I get to explain it to you. I asked Dr. O what this meant for my chances of recurrence, and she said, "Oh, low single digits. Definitely less than 5%." Right about then was when I started crying. Also there was hugging. And lots and lots of smiling. Actually, that's still happening.
We are still going to do radiation, because we want to make sure that all those cells stay in line, but y'all... this nightmare is almost OVER. My hair is starting to grow back.... my energy is (mostly) back... Granted, I'm still getting used to these tissue expanders, and I still have one surgery drain that won't quit draining, but WHO FREAKING CARES!!! These things just seem so insignificant.
So, this afternoon I got into an email conversation with some friends about which is the greatest Christmas movie of all time. There were many opinions, and they were all correct, but none were quite as correct as mine. The answer to the question is, of course, "It's a Wonderful Life". My family watches this movie every year on Christmas Eve, so it's special to me. Plus, if you haven't ever heard my brother do the "Mary, do you want the moon?" speech in his Jimmy Stewart voice, then you haven't lived.
When Connor and I got married and moved into our first home, my mom even did the Martini house blessing for us (which also made me cry): "Bread, that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. And wine, that joy and prosperity may reign forever."
Today, I feel like George Bailey running through the streets of Bedford Falls after realizing how precious life is and how very close he came to losing it. "Merry Christmas, movie house! Merry Christmas, Emporium! Merry Christmas, you wonderful old Building and Loan!"
I wasn't nearly as desperate as George Bailey was before cancer, but I know that I was in a rut. In many ways, I was just going through the motions, and I am so thankful for this second chance to really appreciate the life that I have been given. To quote another "greatest Christmas movie of all time", "I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I
will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all
Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they
teach!" Ok, so that was actually straight from Dickens, and not the Muppet version (sorry, Sarah. This was more poetic.)
I can't even begin to express how thankful I am for my doctors, my nurses, my family, my friends, and the friends of friends who have been cheering me on for the past 7 months. I love you all so very much. Merry Christmas to you, and may you always live life with the wonder of this season.
God bless us, every one.