Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Remission -- No, NOT Me.


Wikipedia says that remission is defined as: “the state of absence of disease activity in patients with a chronic illness, with the possibility of return of disease activity.”

The Queen of Neuroses would have a field day if my doctor said I was in remission. That dread of waiting for the other shoe to fall, oh yes, the Queen would be in her element.

But I do know people in remission that have been that way for several, blessedly normal years. On the other hand some people who have gone into remission have seen a return of their cancer, but in a more pernicious form. And they soon die. One such was Andy Whitfield. Suffering from Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, he completed his regimen of treatments, and was pronounced in remission. He was to return to work on “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.”

His remission lasted mere months, and when his cancer returned, it was more aggressive and more lethal. An oncologist, not related to his case, said that there are times when you can have a PET scan (the current gold standard for finding pesky cancer cells) and it finds nothing. Yet a single cell can remain, and that cell has the chance to adapt; it’s already survived what was thrown at it from chemo and/or radiation.

And when the time is right, it divides and conquers; stronger, more aggressive than ever, and driven to survive. So, Andy Whitfield died of his cancer, just 39 years old, in simply beautiful physical condition, and apparently good health. But that one cell had gotten away, and it did its job. (And remember, that’s just the theory of an oncologist non-related to Andy Whitfield’s actual case.)

On the one hand, I would love to hear the words that I am in remission, yet on the other, it’s somehow heartening to continue my treatments, knowing that I’m doing something active to defeat these little bastard cells. Because really, I would hate to give the Queen of Neuroses any ammunition whatsoever.

Oh, and Christopher Hitchens, rest in eternal peace.  You touched so many, in ways you can't even imagine.

4 comments:

  1. Girl, have you seen the shitty news today about Melody from the COPD board. She passed away. Her daughter wrote on her blog. How can that be? My goodness, I am in shock.

    I have seen this before though. Back when I had valley fever, one of my close friends at work got what we thought was the same thing. We both went to the same pulmonary guy, and had mostly the same treatments. She however got taken away from work, which at the time I thought was unfair, how come we had the same thing and she got time off. I had my biopsy on the tuesday and was told the same day it was VF, she had hers on the following Fri of the same week. I called her when she got home. She told me she had lung cancer. On the Sunday she got a blood clot in her lung and her husband took her to Mayo. I went to visit her the following weekend and took her all sorts of stuff. She did look bad. The following weekend, she was dead. 2 weeks from diagnosis, how the hell does that happen. I wish I knew.

    This is so sad. I just wrote to Melody the other day on her blog to see if she was ok as she had not written for 3 days. I thought she was just feeling bad with the treatment. This has thrown me for a loop, I feel like I knew her. I thought we would all cheer her on from the sidelines and she would come out the other end a bit battered and bruised but otherwise ok. Her poor family must be in such shock. I have no words for it, just shitty and so unfair.

    Hope you are doing ok girl. The build up to Xmas has sorta crept up on me rather quickly this year. How did that happen?

    Anyway, gotta go and ponder on life etc. Stay as well as you can, and I will speak to you again soon.
    fay in the family room

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gods, Fay, I am so in shock. Some days, I don't know what the hell is up with the world, and to have Melody die like this is appalling. Shocking. I'm sick to my stomach.

    I wondered why her treatments were making her so sick; why she was in so much pain. It just didn't seem 'normal' according to, you know, MY normal. My guess, now, is that it was hyper agressive. I think her docs knew what they were doing was a last ditch effort. But, gads, it hadn't even spread!

    Yeah, I'm going to have some wine, and maybe some chocolate, because I don't frankly give a flying rat's hind end, at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yeah, I know. I was reading her blog and she was in so much pain. I know it hurts and makes you sick, but she just seemed to be so very sick. I cannot stop crying and I did not even know her. Tequila, why are so many young people dying from cancer? It just seems like lately everyone I hear from or know has it or knows someone who has it. I cannot even begin to imagine what her family are feeling right now, so sudden. But then again, they say by the time it shows up anywhere and they can see it, it has been there for at least 5 years.

    I am sorry, I should not be writing to you about this. You are going thru your own struggles and treatments, I am just trying to make some sense of this all. It is just so very, very sad, right before Christmas too. It is awful when it happens right before or around the holidays.

    Anyway, enjoy the wine and choccies. They give me migraines so I do not indulge, well, I do but I suffer for it. Worth it though, especially if I can get my hands on some good English chocolate.
    Will talk at ya later girlie
    Be well
    Fay

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fay, you can write anything to me ANYTIME. I'm struggling with lots of feelings right now. And I can't even begin to express what they are. It's almost like it's time to go back to therapy. :)

    I just try to live today, this minute, this second, but sometimes things like what happened to Melody can just slap me into being paranoid, scared, angry, hurt, sad, depressed, anxious, ... I don't know... but as Scalet O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day." And that's what will get me through.

    Hugs to you, Fay.

    ReplyDelete

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