As many of you know, on October 5th I received the official news from my oncologist that I am in remission. I cried for nearly two hours straight, I only recall losing it once during my fight prior to this and that was when I heard the words Stage IV. Once I heard that amazing word, remission, the tears would not stop. Seven months of angst was all coming out. It sure felt great!
The days that followed my remission news were exhilarating. I had been given a second chance at life but I had also been changed, for the better. I vowed I would make the best of my life and live everyday to the fullest. I would never again take anything for granted. Life going forward would be blissful. Then reality hit.
What I didn't realize, and that is very common with a cancer remission diagnosis, is depression. Not a 'I can't get out of bed' depression, but rather a 'feeling blah', type of depression. I had been surrounded by friends and family who put their lives on hold for ME and they had to get back to normal. I was used to being surrounded by doctors and nurses who I really enjoyed. Rather than monthly visits it turned into, we will see you in 3-4 months. I would miss them.
I was told "we are going to let your body heal and fight on its own"...What? My body hadn't done such a great job of that in recent years. I think I want chemo again, I don't trust my body to do the fighting. Have I gone crazy, I hated chemo! The tricks this disease plays on you is sometimes overwhelming. The fear of recurrence is with me daily. I had to have a very tough conversation with my oncologist a few months back about this very subject. One of the few times I searched colon cancer survivability and recurrence on Google I was suddenly hit with my odds. 80% chance of recurrence and 10% survivability after 5 years. Dr. Dublis confirmed these statistics with me but through her tears she said, "Angie, YOU are a 20 percenter" so don't you ever give up. I am so thankful my oncologist believes in me.
I have come to know two very special people who are battling the same disease. Both were diagnosed Stage IV colon cancer with liver mets and have had the same treatment and surgeries. They are still battling and have not been given the awesome remission news that I have. Why me? Why am I no evidence of disease (NED) and they are not? So confusing. I know that statistically I was the winner between us 3 so far but I have an intense guilt.
I know, I know...Angie needs to see a therapist. Already have one! And finding that I am not alone in these feelings. Cancer is a doozy on your psyche. My therapist, who deals with lots of cancer patients, said this is the side of remission no one likes to talk about. I know I have a lot of followers who are also fighting and I want them to be aware that these feelings are very real and very normal.
Keep me and my family in your prayers. Now we need to get used to this remission thing and our new normal. I will continue to fight like a 20 percenter!
God is good!