This past Friday, I had my three month oncologist visit and blood work; so, I am now waiting on the results of my tumor markers, which I won't have until Monday or Tuesday afternoon. In ways, having the wait be over the weekend is better because I know the results won't come out until the business days which keeps me from obsessively checking my online medical chart like I would when I'd do the tests on Tuesdays, but at the same time, I don't have the structure of work and routine to keep me busy and my mind off of it.
Someone mentioned to me this weekend that they didn't know how I did the waiting, and I thought "you just don't have a choice". It is a bit like that meme that often goes around on Facebook that you don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.....that is the reality for anyone dealing with the waiting and the ups and downs of cancer. Like the Miranda Lambert song I normally "hide my crazy" during the waiting time period, but thought I'd fess up about some of it now as it might help someone else realize that it is perfectly normal.
The waiting after these 3 month visits or after a PTscans is incredibly hard, and how I handle each time is different. Work is always a good escape for me; so, that provides good structure, but on the weekends when that isn't there to escape into......Generally, I do a lot of obsessively checking my online medical chart when it gets close to time that it would be there. I know that they are going to call me with the results, but I still do it anyway. I tend to be pretty emotional during this timeframe, and I've learned that I need to talk to my close friends about it (some people I know are the exact opposite) so much so that my phone normally runs out of battery multiple times when it never does that any other time. I can feel like a complete nervous wreck at times, and I often don't make too many plans for that weekend or only make plans with close friends so that if I can't handle doing something they'll understand. Sometimes, I want to do nothing but sleep. Other times like this weekend, it seems to have manifested in me being unable to sleep. I was up last night until 4 AM. (I did end up sick with a stomach virus after church; so, that may have played into it without me realizing it.)
I work very hard to be as at peace as I can with everything through prayer, etc., but the worry is still there. I have many friends with cancer that I have met through work, church, Imerman's Angels, cancer forums, etc. and the thing I've discovered is that it is normal to be a wreck during this time of waiting and that's okay. It took several of them telling me its okay for a while for it to sink in, but it finally did. So, if you or someone you care about is going through any part of this process and dealing with the waiting , just know that its hard and it may not be a pretty process where the crazy is hidden but you will get through it.
If you ask me how I feel, I will tell you that I feel great, and that is the absolute truth. Day to day, I feel really good (well, except for the whole stomach virus thing today), but you still worry. I had blissfully forgotten about a lymph node that had lit up on my previous PTscan. We are going to do another PTscan if insurance will allow it to check to see if that node is still lighting up. That node is in a place that would be very rare for it to be cancer especially since my cancer initially moved by blood. It also could not be felt; so, my oncologist really does not believe it is cancer related. I'm not sure when that will get scheduled, but that will be more waiting. Thankfully, that one is only for a day usually. Once the tumor markers come back, I will have a better idea of what to expect from that PTscan anyway.
So, I'm back to more waiting and sipping coke and/or gatorade and watching whatever is on the dvr. Hopefully, I'll be able to avoid checking my online medical chart, but I will update whenever I know more from my tumor markers.