A doctor's speech bubble is wrapped in a gift ribbon

That Amazing Word...

I heard that amazing word one more time. What is that word that you speak of? I am so glad that you asked. The amazing word is "STABLE". I had my 12th set of scans and heard that glorious word once again. According to Merriam-Webster just for fun, the definition of the word STABLE that applies to those of us with a medical condition means "not changing or fluctuating: unvarying". That one word brought so much relief.

This scan felt different

I was diagnosed in October 2017 with Stage IV Lung Cancer without any metastasis to anywhere else in the body, but both lungs were involved and that has remained true for the past 43 months. I started the oral chemo tablet, Tagrisso, and have been on it since.

This scan felt different. I just knew that change was on the horizon. I just knew that things were about to look different. Oh, how the mind can be much worse than this disease, right? I had developed some new symptoms and it just simply must be my cancer changing. This was scan set number 12.

For some reason, I keep a log. I don't know why I do that, but I like to keep up with it for whatever reason. I saw the same tech per usual, but it felt like he wasn't near as talkative to me. He likely was, but this mind was playing major tricks on me. Did he see something? He saw something! I knew it. I know that isn't how it works, but in my weak mind at the moment, that is how it was working for me.

Waiting and waiting for resutls

Thankfully, I get same-day results. So off to the doctor's office I went. While waiting on my name to be called, I get a notification on my phone that said "You have a new test result" from my patient portal. This has never happened before. My reports are always available the next day at the earliest. My mind goes crazy again. There is something urgent on that scan and they have pushed it through quickly. Do I have a clot? Is there cancer all over my body? Am I going to be admitted to the hospital? Is this it? By this point, I have worked myself in an almost panic within my own mind.

My husband was with me, but I just sat calmly. He had no idea of the battle going on in my feeble mind. Then the lab called my name and snapped me out of that tailspin I was going down. I turned on the smiles and was nervously chatty with my nurse. Came back to the waiting room and told my husband that my test result was in my portal, but I wasn't going to look at it. He agreed. Minutes seemed like hours as I waited to be called back.

My mind was spinning and racing

Finally, they called me. "You will be in room #6, Mrs. Rickles." I sat down. I was tuned into every voice I heard in the hallway, every footstep was amplified and I waited. It again felt like ages that I was in that room awaiting my fate. This is the calm before the storm I thought. It's taking so long because he's trying to develop a new plan for me. Oh, dear! He's trying to get all the things scheduled before he comes in because it's bad I thought. I need my prescription renewed, but if my current medication isn't working any longer, I won't need that. How much will this cost? Am I headed for a port? This is going to sting and feel like diagnosis day all over again. I am still waiting. I was frantically asking my husband over and over again how long we had been waiting.

Then I heard my doctor talking in the hall. Here it comes! Click--the door next to me closed. Sigh, I asked my husband the time. This is bad. He's seeing everyone else before he comes in for me because he knows I will have questions and will occupy a good bit more time, so he's going ahead and seeing the others.

I am truly grateful for today

I finally just took a deep breath and decided to stop going down this trail of mind games. It will be what it will be and there's nothing I can do about it. Out of nowhere, his Nurse Practitioner came through the door. She didn't beat around the bush all--she walked in and said, "Hey! Your scans look good today--I know you are anxious to know that."

I literally felt the tremendous build-up of anxiety flee from my body. A wave of relaxation came over me. I was ok! I keep going on the path. Whew! Another four months. The relief was great. She must have seen it too.

I heard that word STABLE one more time and I am truly grateful.

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