Almost Done

This is probably the news that everyone has been waiting for.

After the full-body iodine scan this morning, the doctors decided there were no abnormalities.  There wasn't the predicted all-around study they've done every time before they "just wanted a couple of pictures".  I didn't even get fed through the C/T scanner.  Just 45 minutes on the table under the high-energy plates, and the doctor was happy enough.

This is the perfect result of the test: no abnormalities, no cautionary immediate follow-up imaging.

(And a whopping great bacon cheeseburger for lunch.)

So this means we can start believing that this cancer is really gone.  That this can be the last time the word "cancer" is mentioned with that certain weight that it can carry.

The rest of this is merely book-keeping and accounting.  I'll have to re-do this full-body radioactive iodine scan every three to five years for the rest of my life, just in case the cancer is dormant somewhere, hiding out.  And starting in September there will be a new regular regimen of blood testing to make sure my artificial hormone balance is appropriate with possibly annual visits to this particular doctor.  But in general we can go back to our regular wonderings and complainings about the routine aches and pains that life accumulates.  We don't have cancer still hanging over us.

We'll never get the year and a half of life back that this took.  Hopefully this will just be one story that the kids remember being told rather than experiencing, something to remember to mention to their doctor when they're 30 and doing their own annual physicals.

I'm still not sure what to take away from this as a lesson.  It is true that at times the medical mechanism moved slowly and opaquely.  But I went from being told "let's get an ultrasound of this lump" to "the biopsy returned cancer-like cells" in less than four months, and from there to the surgery in less than six weeks.  So when there's a problem, the system moves quickly.  Keeping everyone informed, well that's not something they do so well.  I guess it shows that in my case the system, generally, worked.

It has been said that life is what happens while you are making other plans.  At times, Jenn and I have wondered if we've been bad-luck magnets between the cancer and the autism and the associated combinations of events those bring.  But with the help of everyone around us we have managed to come through the cancer trial, and right now with both boys' medium-term outlooks looking stable, the autism is probably in the best shape it is going to be.

Thanks to everyone who has walked with us -- and those who continue to walk with us -- through this journey.