(by Ellie Holcomb)
We've reached a milestone of sorts in our cancer journey...today marks five years since Christopher's ocular melanoma diagnosis. As I've said before, this doesn't hold the significance that five years means to most other types of cancer. But today marks another year that Chris has survived, and we are grateful.
Y'all may remember my concerns about Christopher's medical oncologist. Things that he said after the latest scan proved that he doesn't know as much about OM as he should if he is going to treat &/or advise OM patients, which caused me not to trust his recommendation to lengthen the time between scans. I said before that I would be nervous about that even if a knowledgeable doctor made the recommendation, but it would definitely be easier to accept accept if I felt confident that the doctor knew more than I did about OM.
Well, I was right in not feeling comfortable about waiting a year for his next scans. But this is one of those times when I wouldn't have minded being wrong.
Chris saw his ocular oncologist the other day, and Dr B definitely knows more than I do about OM. And more specifically, he knows more about Christopher's OM. Based on Christopher's age, tumor size, and the amount of time in which the tumor shrank*, Dr B suggested that Chris continue to get PET scans every six months for at least another three years. It is what he would do if it was him, and it is what he would tell his family to do if it were them.
So there you go. I had sorta hoped that I was being overly cautious and was actually wrong this time. And if I can be completely honest with y'all, I had a brief little meltdown after learning of Dr B's recommendation. Though I have researched a lot and know the facts, there's something different about a doctor saying that there are actual reasons that necessitate more frequent scans. In other words, he has a higher risk of it spreading.
So here we are at the five-year mark with a fresh sting. I feel like I've come so far, but I still have a long way to go. I still occasionally find myself looking at stats as if I can trust in them. But they're just numbers, and I have no way of knowing which side of the stats we fall. There's nothing I can do but trust the One who knows. I've said this before, and I'll probably go to my grave saying it...I have no idea how people make it through this sort of thing without having hope in the Lord. Without hope of a better, glorious future with Him, I could easily give in to fear, doubt, and depression. But He is the anchor of hope that keeps me from drifting. And one day He will make everything right.
*I thought I'd explain this bit of information because if it came as a surprise to me, then it probably did to you, too. Throughout the years, Dr B has always said that he was pleased with the progress of the tumor shrinkage and has explained that shrinking too much too soon indicates a fast growing, aggressive tumor. At the most recent visit, he revealed that Christopher's tumor shrunk on the fast side of slow, if that makes sense. So he was pleased, but barely. And it shrunk fast enough that Dr B cited it as another reason he would put Chris in a higher risk category. As I've said before, Dr B only tells us what he thinks we need to know at the time. While I appreciate the fact that he doesn't want to concern us, I prefer to know the whole truth as we go along and not be surprised by the it years later. But it is what it is...
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
(by Ellie Holcomb)