Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Mission? Remission!

Note: this post follows and builds upon a similar Facebook status I posted previously.

Today I am quietly celebrating three years of remission. Three years ago today, my endocrinologist told me in person what he and my oncologist had decided after interpreting my latest labs: No Evidence of Disease. What a thrill and what a relief to hear those three little letters: N.E.D.

I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma in September 2008. The battle that ensued consumed the better part of 3 years. Biopsies, surgeries, chemo, radiation, scans, labs--It all seems so long ago. These days, I take a pill every morning and I have frequent labs and ultrasound checks, but otherwise, all is well with me. 

As you read this, please join me in celebration of early detection and good facilities, and competent treatment, for these may have saved my life. Celebrate also compassionate support and ongoing research to find a cure for this dreaded disease.

Today my joy is tempered by my younger brother's ongoing struggle. He was diagnosed in November 2012 with a cancer much more difficult to treat. His battle continues and I long for the day when he will hear my favorite three-letter word: NED

No one wants cancer. All of us who have heard their doctor pronounce the diagnosis have crossed a line no one wants to cross. Once crossing the line, one's perspective on life is forever changed. There is no cure for cancer (yet!), and one cannot un-get it. Once cancer is in your body, the best you can hope for is to get the disease into a management phase known as remission. 

For those of us who have walked the walk and survived. let us talk the talk to raise awareness, increase empathy, and improve funding for research and care. For my brother and everyone I know fighting cancer today, 

your mission is re-mission!