Friday, September 19, 2008

"I've got x-ray eyes" Kiss

I'm looking through you, where did you go 
I thought I knew you, what did I know 
You don't look different, but you have changed
I'm looking through you, you're not the same 

The Beatles

Not the same in a good way. CT scan looked through me and found me changed. There were no longer any enlarged cancerous nodes. The nodes that had measured up to a scary 5 cm. in my belly now top out at boring 8 mm. The City of Hope's GE Lightspeed scanner try as it might, couldn't find any honkin' nodes in the neck, axillae (armpits for the not medical), abdomen, or groin. 

This doesn't mean that there is no cancer. Small nodes can harbor significant collections of cancer cells. What it does mean is that there is NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER IN MY BODY. At the very worst, I am most officially in a COMPLETE REMISSION (CR, MRD or minimal residual disease negative). And that's wonderful.

At the best, it mean the C word: CURE. Now as Dr Wendy Harpham likes to point out, you don't know if you were cured until you die. If you die from some other cause, for what it was worth, it was a cure. If you're done in from a relapse, it wasn't.  Either way you have moved on, hopefully to a place where no-one has heard of cancer and nothing is ever cured cause nothing ever needs to be.  Who knows? 

Now while this earthly life only offers fake promises of certainty, if you get a full five years out with no evidence of disease, you are looking pretty fine. The Kaplan-Meier curve that predicts the chances you are going to die of the leukemia are getting darn near flat 5 years out.  That means those of us who make it to that magic five years out are not often dipping our toes back into the murky waters of leukemia. It may be true, that post transplant we have twice the chance of dying annually as the next guy, (just try and buy life insurance), those odds are actually pretty good. Even when you are 99 years old, chances are good you will live the next 365 days it take to make it to 100.

Roshi, my Zen teacher when asked about the trick to his living to a vigorous 100, said: Make it 99 and then be very careful.

So while I may not have to wait until I am dead or 100, only time will tell if my CR has become the wonderful C word: CURE.

But I am very much alive today and not waiting for confirmation to inject another C: word: CELEBRATION




Blogger Judy Cleri said...

WHOO that is the best birthday present I haen't gotten today, but then again it is early. Congratulations Dr.K.

I stopped by the office yesterday to have my quartely blood draw and it was so very quiet, they really need you back there. So keep on keeping on. And oh yes.....sugars are great.......105......I promised you I would be better about checking. So, since you are on such a good high I thought I would add to it! I am finally doing what you asked me to do. A little slow, but Mom always said better slow than not at all!

Miss you and looking forward to the big 5 year mark......

Love and blessings,


September 20, 2008 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Ronni Gordon said...

Congratulations! That is wonderful news.
On Sept. 18 I would have been at the five year mark. I wrote about it yesterday. Sigh. I guess we need to be happy for the good things that are happening right now, instead of looking back!

September 20, 2008 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger E. Kostich said...

Ad me'ah ve'esrim shanah!

September 20, 2008 at 12:18 PM  

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