Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The News

Mom had her CT scan yesterday.  This scan was going to tell us how chemo was affecting her cancer.  We wanted to be realistic about things, but we also wanted to stay positive.  So, our hope was simply that chemo had done its job and tumors were shrinking.  In my positive frame of mind, I expected to hear that everything was shrinking and chemo was going well.  In my more negative moments, I'd fear that chemo had had no affect and that tumors were still growing and the cancer had continued to metastasize.  This morning, we went to the doctor to hear the results. 

Meagan, the nurse practitioner entered the room.  She greeted us with a warm smile and said, "So the results from the scan are pretty fantastic."
"Fantastic on the scale of fantasticness," I said, "or just fantastic as in what we were hoping for?"
"No, they're pretty fantastic," She replied.

"If you remember, in July, you had three masses on your skull.  One large one on your left frontal lobe and two smaller ones in the back.  According to the scans, those are...gone."

My jaw dropped.  I looked at Mom and she looked back and smiled a huge smile.  Then we turned back to Meagan to hear more.

"You had a very large mass in your left lung and it was spreading to your lymph nodes.  In addition, you had many swollen lymph nodes.  According to the scans, that mass is gone and your lymph nodes are a normal size."

Mom and I sat slightly stunned.

"Your back had various spots and some compression fractures.  We did notice two new compression fractures, but that's probably because your spine was weakened by the tumors."

"So, what about the tumors?  Have they grown?"

"They're gone."

"Wait!  So, no tumors in her spine?  No dark masses?"


Another stunned moment.

"And then there was your liver.  In July, you had five masses in your liver."

Mom and I sat breathless, waiting to hear the bad news.  I was hoping Meagan would say there were only 2-3 left, but I was prepared to hear that they'd all grown.

"Of those five masses..."

My heart is racing and my hands are shaking.


None what?!  None have changed?!  None responded?!  What????

"...remain.  The liver is clear and appears to be of normal size and function."

I sat, completely silent and in awe.  I finally said, "I'm sorry.  I don't know what to say.  I'm in utter shock."

Then Mom asked the million dollar question, "So, is this considered remission?"

No, that can't possibly be.  It's only been three months.  That's more than I'd ever hoped for.  I waited for Meagan to respond.

"Yes. At this point, we would consider your cancer to be in complete remission.  Now, we just have to make sure it stays that way."

For the first time all morning, I could finally breathe.  Mom's doctor came in and we discussed plans for the future.  She'll continue with chemo so she has a full 6 rounds, and then we'll discuss prophylactic radiation.  She'll have scans every 3 months for I don't know how long, and we'll want to keep a close eye on things to make sure it doesn't come back.  Still, though, I can't believe how wonderful this news was.  Even the doctor was grinning from ear to ear.

So, this week so far has been amazing.  First, Monday was my birthday.  Woohoo!  Second, and also today, I was officially selected as one of the 40 people under 40 who continue to make a difference in the community (it's a pretty awesome honor, and the publication is very popular).  And lastly, this news.  I can't believe it.  I'm still in shock and disbelief.  This week, LIFE IS GOOD!


  1. WOW! Such wonderful news! I am so happy for you all!

  2. SO happy for you!!! Prayers answered!!

  3. Tears. Couldn't be more happy for your family!

  4. ~I am just so happy for you, your mom & everyone...doctors too !~ <3

  5. Val, I am beyond thrilled for you guys and your sweet mama! What a year this has been for your family!!

  6. Thank you all for the well wishes. Valerie and I are still stunned, but one thing we have never stopped being filled with is gratitude. Gratitude to our higher power, gratitude for improved chemo drugs, and gratitude to my body for responding well.

    I'm also filled with gratitude to my beautiful daughter. I know that this has been difficult for her.....but it has also been difficult for me....but I think that through all of the difficulties, our love for each other shines through. I know that I am so fortunate to have Valerie as my daughter. Thank you all again!