March 4, 2021

It’s been a wild ride this past 51 weeks. I hope you are all doing as well as possible and are safe and healthy. It’s hard to believe COVID has been with us almost a year. 

I had scans 2 days ago. A bone scan and CT scan with contrast. There was no change in the scans meaning that the cancer is stable. No progression. Status Quo. As I’ve said before this is the best possible news we can have. This means that the medication I’m taking has stopped the cancer from replicating. 

The tension in our house understandably becomes high during this week of scans. When Evelyn heard I had scans scheduled her reaction was – again? Didn’t you just have them. Yes, yes, I did. But three months have passed and so here we are again. 

Normally I have the scans ~2 days before the appointment with my oncologist. This gives the radiologist time to read the scans and write the report, but not too much time for me to fret over the results. With electronic medical systems I can see the scan reports (after they are approved for my viewing). Normally both the bone and CT scan reports come through within a few hours of each other. When I go to open them my hands literally shake. In December I couldn’t even open them and read them I was so nervous. Glen had to do it. Anyway… this month the bone scan came in yesterday but no CT scan. I checked early evening, no CT report. My mind immediately went to places it shouldn’t – the report wasn’t shared because it showed progression (why can’t our minds go down a ‘good’ rabbit hole?).  I checked again this morning (after only ~4 hours sleep). No report. I checked right before I left for the cancer center. No report. All day I prepared myself for bad news. Then, Glen texted me when I was in the waiting room and said the report just came through my electronic file and it was stable. I could feel the tension drain from my body. 

One of the more interesting aspects of dealing with this uncertainty is that I otherwise go through the day just like anyone else would. I spent the early morning texting neighbors looking for sand for Evelyn’s engineering project. I went on a walk with Glen before 3 hours of Zoom meetings. I talked with colleagues around the state and across the country about all the work related things that have to get done. I’m grateful for all of that because it allows me to push the cancer to the back of my mind. …but it’s always there.   

COVID Vaccine!  As an additional bonus I managed to get a COVID vaccine today! A Johnson & Johnson shot so I don’t need a second shot. “One and Done.”

I usually see the same techs when I get my scans and so we chat a lot during the process. One of the techs shared with me how to be available for extra doses the vaccine clinic might have at the end of the day. I went Tuesday but no luck. I went again today and they were hedging. In talking to the clinic manager he said they might have a few – he asked how old I was. In Colorado we are moving tomorrow to the phase where 50+ yr old who have two conditions can get vaccinated. I only have one. I said  “51 , but I have stage 4 cancer.” I saw his face change expression. He asked me to have a seat in the waiting area and 10 minutes later he came by to get me. He checked me in himself and told me I was getting one of the Johnson & Johnson shots. Today was the first day they were distributing them. I got the shot and waited 15 minutes and was on my way. 

Fortunately, my body handles vaccines and all kinds of medications without issue. I’m grateful for that, very few side effects at all. 

Bonus vaccine on a good news scan result day!

Glen will get vaccinated at the end of the month and Evelyn will be eligible with the general Colorado population – hopefully by May. Maddy wil have to wait since she is 14. The vaccines are safe and effective – we will still be wearing masks in public and limiting our activities in the short term. Let’s all hope we can get wide scale transmission and mutations under control so we can figure out the new normal!

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