Things are a little surreal around here lately. The holiday season is upon us, and there’s that feeling of cheer and goodwill in the air, but underlying it is a simmering anxiety for me.
Michael had his annual CT/PET scan last Thursday. Last year when he had it, we got the results within a day or two, and it was the best news a cancer patient could hope for: “no evidence of disease,” which in simple terms means remission, no sign of cancer. This year there was a lot less anxiety leading up to his scan; all his checkups have been good, and there’s really been no cause for concern. Not that either of us were taking it lightly this time, but I think we felt pretty confident that the results would be the same as last year: no evidence of disease.
Well, as it turns out, the scan revealed an area of concern. “Uptake” it’s called, and it has to do with certain metabolic activity that could be consistent with any number of things: injury/healing, infection, and yes, cancer. It is, in fact, in an area that was directly hit by infection after his emergency surgery back in April, so it could very well just be that. The CT/PET scan is not diagnostic. It’s really more of a screening, so right now it’s a huge question mark that’s weighing very heavily on my mind. Michael’s oncologist is not treating it as urgent, but he does want to follow up before the end of the year – meaning blood work, very probably a diagnostic scan, and possibly a biopsy. Michael is buried at work right now preparing for a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court next month, so it’s unlikely he’ll even be able to get in to see his doctor before next week. The waiting, the not knowing, the imagining the worst (though I’m trying so hard not to) is killing me.
Cancer: a friend for life.
I’m also having a lot of anxiety about my pregnancy. Hearing the news about Michelle Duggar losing her baby at 20 weeks last week really threw me for a loop. I’m only a year younger than she is, and all along I’ve been unable to shake the feeling that I have no business being pregnant at my age. Ever since I took that first pregnancy test all those weeks ago, there’s been a part of me that has expected to miscarry, and I’ve had a hard time allowing myself to get excited or attached. And yet . . . when I saw my midwife a couple of days ago, she pulled out her doppler and said, “Let’s see if we can find a heartbeat.” Well, I wasn’t expecting this little gift, as she’s more a fan of the fetoscope, which typically doesn’t pick up a heartbeat until much later. I guess she sensed that I needed some reassurance, though, and she found the baby’s heartbeat with very little trouble.
Wow, there’s really a baby in there!
There’s really nothing like it, hearing that sound for the first time. I just started crying, I couldn’t help myself.
It was reassuring, and tomorrow we’ll get our first glimpse of this little muffin, as I’m having the long-awaited ultrasound to date the pregnancy.
And yet, even with this little piece of reassurance, I know there are no guarantees. I feel like I’m never going to be able to rest easy with this one.