Friday, April 9, 2010

From Zero to Terrified in 1.5 seconds

Last Thursday, (4/1), I had chemo #7. PARTY.

At my appointment, I asked my oncologist a couple questions, and in hearing his answers, my mood went from hopeful to cocky to stone cold terrified to grateful, all within the span of about 2 minutes. Just thinking back on the conversation brings back those feelings again, all blended up like a frappe. A Fear Frappe with a twist of Cocky.

Here's how our convo went:
"So, Doc, I had a really good scan last time. My two lil' tumors are over 50% gone, after just 4 sessions of chemo. Do most people in my same boat do as well as i did?" (Ok, I was setting myself up here for a big pat on the back, I guess because I just needed some encouragement. Feeling scared, but hopeful.)

He never sugarcoats his comments, nor is he prone to hyperbole. None of the "Oh, Shelly, truly, 'twas the finest scan I've seen in my THIRTY-PLUS YEARS. I overnighted it to the Mayo Clinic for their 'Wall of Fame'." Instead, he answered, "It was above average." And I believe that's his way of saying, "Crack the bubbly."

I got the answer I wanted. Suddenly I'm all cocky.

So then I asked him my second question. "Ok, then. So how come very often when I talk to people who happen to be doctors they don't flip with excitement over my great progress? I want a Roberto Benigni-style reaction,
not Simon Cowell. They're so MEASURED and SERIOUS all the time. What gives?"

My doc answered, "The truth is, for the last 30 years or so, we haven't had many good drugs for colon cancer. So we haven't had a lot of good news. Success rates were NOT high. But the good news is, and what studies aren't really reflecting yet, is that in the past 4 years, we've gotten some really great new chemo drugs for colon cancer. Especially in the last 2-3 years. Drugs that are really seeming to work well."

More encouraging news! A little more cocky, with a huge twist of hopeful.

And then, he turned to me and looked me squarely in the face and said, "Even so, the truth is, most people who have what you have will DIE."



Then he quickly added, "BUT, a small group of people do FABULOUSLY." He put his two hands about 4 inches apart, as if he were about to clap, to indicate the size of this group. "And as of now, you're in the fabulous group, Shelly."




I'm doing 180s here. Happy! Sad! Hopeful! Scared! It's enough to make a person insane.

What's funny is, I knew all this stuff before, but hearing it put so plainly just reminded me (again, like I need another reminder) how serious this all is.

And more importantly, at the same time it also reassured me that I AM CURRENTLY HOLDING A POSITION ON TEAM FABULOUS. In fact, I'm center fielder! Actually, at this point I'm still on the bench. But I have the uniform. (And I wear my socks pulled up high, it's way cuter.)


  1. I'm focusing on you as captain and star outfielder of Team Fabulous! Don't let those doctors and their measured statements have you believe anything different. I saw it with my own eyes Tuesday night, you look and continue to be fabulous. And in my thoughts every day. Much love to you and those super-cute kids...

  2. Can I be the mascot?

    i don't play the game but I kinda know the game. Just don't make me be a big colon or giant piece of poo (ala Mr. Hanky). How about a big, blue Team SHELLY bracelet? I could dress all in yellow and make the bracelet really big, like a hula-hoop!


  3. You may eventually be the pitcher, Shel. Or the shortstop. One of those two hot-rod positions. Actually, I was listening to an interview about the lives of umpires today on "Fresh Air", which made me think anew about the game on the field, and those crazy masks they wear. THANK GOD! (where am i GOING with this?)
    and when you join the team officially, with your cute, high socks, the team will become even that much more fabulous.

  4. Ditto to what Carla said, "Don't let those doctors and their measured statements have you believe anything different." Go Team-Shelly-Fabulous....