How can it be that summer is over and today is the first day of school? Summer went by too quickly, and I have not properly documented my comings and goings. That's because I've been out living instead of in blogging. I have begun many stories, and I hope to finish them and post them in the coming days.
Today's story is going to cover several things that happened in the month of July. At the beginning of the month was my hiking trip in the Olympic Mountains. It was every bit as incredible as I imagined it would be! Walking in the woods was a restorative activity after a somewhat stressful year of recovery. Taking one step at a time, over logs, under logs, and around logs, helped me truly realize just how strong I am. In addition to the physical achievement of hiking 10 miles per day for 3 days, I had the personal satisfaction of getting away from the routines for awhile. I forgot how unscheduled a couple of grown-ups could be for a couple of days, and it was rejuvenating. Plus, my brother was a wonderful host, guide, and companion. He cracks me up.
A few days after I returned to the office from my backpacking trip, I got a phone call from the Big Boss (my boss's boss's boss in the district office). He was calling to congratulate me because I won a really big award! I am an Early Career Scientist award-winner for 2015. I get to go to Washington D.C. in September to receive the award. Woo hoo! I'm so excited! All sorts of loved ones are going to accompany me to D.C.: my daughters, dad, stepmom, grandparents, and mother-in-law. What on earth am I going to wear? Don't make me buy a pantsuit!!
I was beginning to feel rather legendary when two weeks later I found myself once again in that dark little room, meditating with my yellow paintbrushes while the radioactive glucose worked its way around my cells. This time I got my PET scan results on the same day as the scan, and guess what? All clear again! Boom! The legend continues! That's the third clean PET scan in a row, friends. Well, in the interest of full disclosure, the current PET scan did show a tiny bit of activity on one ovary, but a follow-up ultrasound revealed that there is nothing abnormal going on. So again I say, clear PET scan! Huzzah!
Two weeks ago, in August, I had a 6-month follow-up with Dr. Medical Oncologist at the other cancer center. This is my Her2-cancer expert. She couldn't have been more thrilled with the PET scan results (in fact, I daresay she had a look of disbelief on her face). I asked if we could stretch out the PET scans a bit, now that I've had 3 clean ones, and she said yes but just a bit. Her proposed PET scan schedule is every 4-5 months. Ugh, that's still awfully frequent scanning, but I'll take it. It'll be 3 PET scans a year instead of 4, which I suppose will make a big difference in terms of my schedule and exposure to radioactivity. She also still plans to keep me on the Herceptin and Pertuzumab treatments indefinitely, as previously planned, as long as my heart holds up. I get echo cardiograms of my heart every 3 months to make sure it's not being adversely affected by the treatments. Again, I'll take it. Finally, she mentioned that if these drugs ever stop working for me, there are already new treatment options available for Her2 cancers. Wow! That's incredible! I hope I don't have to explore those options for a long, long time, but it's nice to know that they are there.
Two days ago, on Aug. 22, was my one year anniversary since my last hard chemo. I can't believe that it's been a year already. Time flies when you're feeling well, I guess. I am so grateful to have had this year, and I feel ready to snag another one. Dr. Medical Oncologist said that when I make it to my 10-year survivorship, she can retire. Thanks for giving me a new survivorship goal, Dr. MO. Here's to sending you into early retirement!