Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Peanut butter and fish

After a glorious summer of health, happiness, and normalcy, tomorrow I return to the shit-for-brains cancer world for a PET scan. Just heading in that damned building makes my quills stick up. That place SMELLS like terror.

This scan will prove if radiation I got in April and May worked. And, just as importantly, that the rest of my body remains cancer-free. If the latter proves to be true, it will be almost TWO YEARS since any NEW cancer has been detected in my body. (Apparently, the spots they burned earlier in the year were old cancer, cancer they already knew about, and that's significant and different than if new spots were growing rampantly in new places.)

I am not a numbers gal, FAR FROM IT (has anyone seen my solar calculator?), but in this utterly senseless cancer dimension, things are completely uncertain and unpredictable, so you gravitate toward anything concrete. In this case, I look at survival rates, WHICH I KNOW, I KNOW, I should completely ignore because I am just one spot on the spectrum and what happens to "most people" doesn't apply to me. Hell, I shouldn't be in this group in the first place. But still, it's hard to ignore those dreary numbers.

And yet, shitty stats being what they are, if this scan comes up clean, my long-term survival percentages will rise dramatically. It will be almost two years with no new cancer. I will be a respectable distance down the survivor road. It's almost too much for me to think about. How can I possibly allow my hopes to rise, when I know all too well how devastating it feels to have them dashed? The results will be what they will, and I am placing myself in a protective "cross that bridge" mindset.

I'm hopeful. If I were sitting at the Vegas Sands right now, I'd put all my chips on GREEN. (Dad, I know. You raised me better than that. That's not how gambling works.) But it's my not-so-swift-in-the-cranium way of saying, I think I'm going to pass the scan. I just feel too damned normal and good for it to be any other way.

So today: the PET scan diet. No carbs. No sugars. No fruits. Only proteins. Nuts. Cheese. Lean meats. PTTTTTTTH.

And tomorrow at 8 a.m., the PET scan. Then, I am going to let my doctor call me with the results whenever he gets them. I am not going to hound him and live in a state of desperation, where the sound of the phone ringing fills my entire being with utter terror. It's too taxing. I'll let you know when I find out the results.

Love, Shelly
B.A., drama


  1. Rooting for you. As always. Here's to two years!

  2. Hey Shelly,
    I can so relate to what you are going through. It's Abbe - Kenyon 1989 - ovarian cancer survivor going on 10 years now. I HATE going back to that office where it all started...yet I know that was the place that made me well. I feel like I should have good feelings about it all...but yet I don't. I think you are doing an amazing job of handling it all. My hat is off to you, girl! Great job on the Swim Across America by the way. I donated to Carla's effort. Sounds like a blast. Maybe Kyla Carlson (89 too!) and I should join all of you! We could have our own little Seattle-Kenyon Swim Team! Keep fighting!!! I'm thinking of you always.

  3. Abbe! Yes, you and Kyla should DEFINITELY join our team! Please?! I only started training two days ago for the 2-mile distance, so no matter what shape you are in, you don't have to worry about it being "too late". The more, the merrier. And the better for our cause! I am going to friend you on FB so we can discuss this "offline" (yet, online, actually).