First things first . . . this week I had my four year post diagnose check up (April 27, 2008 diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma). I remain cancer free! The CT scan showed all is quiet and normal, my blood tests normal (my red blood count is slightly low but it has been ever since my transplant, so I guess this is “normal” for me.) I was concerned about a “fullness” bump under my ear but the CT scan showed this is probably scar tissue from my initial cancer. So I am – – – cancer free! As I posted February 25, 2012, unbelievable!
The most trying time in my life, diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma. My treatment protocol was a very rigorous and aggressive chemotherapy including an autologous stem cell transplant. I never thought the day would come that four years ago is, well, past . . . a distancing memory. As I left my doctor’s office on Monday, I told Dr. Goodman that this appointment is unbelievable. (It is a difficult emotion to define, maybe I’ll write about this at a later date.) Then I was so sick and now I am so well!
Cancer isn’t a laughing matter. Having cancer is very trying to the patient and to the caregiver. On an emotional scale from one to ten, you can experience one to ten and back, and possibly dip into the negative number scale, too, all on the same day!
But today I want to focus on the lighter side of cancer – yes, there can be a lighter side, maybe not all the time but an occasional moment here and there.
One of my lighter sides of cancer happened in the fall. I started my chemo in May, I was treated all through summer and the fall was my march towards my stem cell transplant. During a day of appointments and testings at the hospital my husband and I had a few hours break at lunch. We packed a picnic and went to Red Butte Gardens. We sat on the steps outside of the entry and enjoyed the warmth of the autumn sun. The view was outstanding overlooking Salt Lake City, it was quiet and a moment to catch our sanity before returning for more appointments.
A school bus pulled around in the parking lot to unload the occupants at the steps where we were sitting. The occupants happened to be an elementary school on a field trip to the gardens. On exiting the bus, the teachers and chaperones kept “shhhooshing” the kids while they hustled them into an organized line. As the kids walked past us and up the stairs they were very quiet and oddly, they kept staring at us. I wondered why we seemed to be a peculiar sight. Then it dawned on me, I didn’t cover my bald head! I was a bald woman, a sight these kids didn’t see ever day! And we had a good laugh at the thought of a bald me and a bus load of elementary school students.
Laughter and light moments during a time of crisis – laughter is good for the soul. For a moment laughter brings a reprieve from the seriousness of diagnose, doctors, pokings and prodings, tests and tests and tests, victories and setbacks, appointments and doctor’s reports.
I would love to write more stories about laughter during (and perhaps through) a time of trial and testing and persevering. Do you have a story I could share in this blog? Your story may be the hope one person needs to read in order to get through to the next day – maybe the next hour. Please share your story with me and give me permission to rewrite it in a future post. If you have a picture to go along with your story, you could send it to me via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can either contact me through the The Voice comment box above or send me an email. Would you be willing to do this for another who might need a light moment right now?
A light moment! Cyndi