The news wasn’t horrible; it was ambiguous.
As is always the case with late afternoon appointments, Dr. Ari was a half an hour late. The door hadn’t even shut behind him when Adrienne blurted out, “What’s the news?” He sat and explained why he hadn’t called back to tell us the numbers. I got his point; sitting in the same room, reading each other’s body language and discussing the options in person, does make more sense. What it doesn’t do is take away the last two days of dread.
My CEA number is up to 11. Not crazy; just up. He explains that sometimes inflammation can cause the number to rise; it’s not a perfect test. The pain I’m convinced is a tumor? Could also be inflammation. He reminds me what my right lung has been through in the past 3 months.
I like a lot of Dr. Ari’s practices. The one I appreciate the most is his honesty. “I don’t know what it means”, he finishes. We talk about options. My lung is still healing; the CT or PET scan results would be hard to read. Dr. Ari throws out a few ideas. The three of us decide that waiting a month and retaking the blood test is the right answer. If the number is higher, a scan will show the tumor. If it’s lower, well, I still may be the miracle man.
We came home to a cake. A friend picked up the kids from school, took them to the library book sale, and then they baked us a cake. Quinn made the chocolate butter cream frosting herself; just like I taught her; and the way my Mom taught me.
After the three of them were finally asleep, Adrienne and I sat on the couch. I felt raw; my insides having received a once over from a cheese grater.
“Did I cry wolf in my last blog post?” I ask.
Adrienne considers my question then replies, “No. You provided insight into two days in the life of a cancer patient.”
She’s right. We have been through this so many times over the past (almost) 3 years. The highs and lows, the fears and elation.
So we’ll live with the ambiguity for another month. We’ll plant the summer garden, I’ll work on my book, maybe I’ll finally finish painting the kids room, and at the end of March, we’ll go to Southern Utah for our belated honeymoon.
And my brain knows what to do: be grateful for everyday I get to spend with my family.
p.s. Thank you to all of you who pray for me, think good thoughts for my family, and follow my story. Some of you I’ve known since kindergarten, some I don’t know at all. It makes me grateful for the connectedness of humans.