TEN YEARS LATER

If you have had cancer, you are never cured. At best, you are in a long-term remission that might last the remainder of your life. Today, after a year of cancelations and COVID, I finally, I saw my oncologist. Got all the blood tests. They didn’t mangle my veins. It was nice coming home without major bruising. Then, I called the doctor’s zoom number when I got home. We chatted.

I said I was fine. That whatever pain I had was from the unhealed area of my breast-bone following heart surgery, but it is definitely bones, not breasts. My breathing issues have to do with dust, dog hair, and pollen and are an old, old story dating back to childhood. No pains, no coughing, nothing growing  — that I know about, anyway.

“It has been ten years since your surgery,” he said. “That’s an important date.”

I nodded. “Yes. October 10, 2010. So last month was my ten-year anniversary.”

“You don’t have to come for regular checkups anymore,” he continued. “If you have any problems, are worried about something, you know where to find me. I will always see you. But you are now, officially, a survivor.”

We hung up the call and I thought about it. It’s six years since the heart surgery, but I’ll never get away from that. Too many spare parts inserted during the surgery. But at least one thing is — for now — finished. I’ve survived two breast cancers and major heart surgery, not to mention spine surgery and so many other surgeries. And amazingly, I’m still here. Be damned if I know how or why because I’ve been so close to death so many times and yet I am alive. So what I want now is to survive this pandemic and die in my own time, from one of the many chronic ailments I already have. One of them is bound to take me out sooner or later.

I’m counting on later.



Categories: Anecdote, Cancer, Coronavirus - Covid 19, Epidemic - Pandemic - Plague, Health, Photography

Tags: , , ,

37 replies

  1. Wish you a healthy life, you’re blessed 💖 Be safe

    Like

  2. It is good to be officially something, and a survivor is probably best. I think many of us have the feeling that we have made it this far so we don’t want to leave the earth because of this stupid pandemic.

    Like

  3. I guess we have something in common, albeit you have experienced far more of this commonality than I. In spite of that, I think I know of what you speak. I have sparks of guilt thinking I am living on borrowed time.., not that I’m complaining, I like living, but the feeling persists. My heart surgery was 13 years ago. Up to that time there was virtually nothing wrong with me.., that I knew of? Recovering, or surviving, I never quite know for sure, as I don’t for sure feel the same as I did, and don’t think I ever will. I guess like you I’ve been given another chance, or an opportunity to do the things I like, experience stuff I don’t particularly like, or in other words, live a reality I might have otherwise missed. They say it’s called life.

    Like

  4. Quite the accomplishment, Marilyn! Yes, you certainly can’t let covid get you, now!

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  5. I’m counting on later for you too, for both of us, all of us. We were supposed to leave on an amazing road trip in June, criss-crossing the country to look up blogger friends. In my dreams, I had it timed to reach you guys in the Autumn so I could experience that part of the country in Fall one more time.

    Fingers crossed here, visualizing continued health, and even my form of praying for you and Garry.

    You are beautiful in that picture!

    Like

    • I would LOVE to see you. Maybe, by then, we’ll all be vaccinated and at least temporarily SAFE. After this year, we all need a big, healthy dose of good luck! If you do manage to get here, plan to stay awhile. We’ll clear out the guest room. Garry’s been working on it anyway, so it’s not as cluttered as it was. Be well. Stay safe and stay healthy!

      Like

  6. You’re still here because God’s not finished with you yet. You still have work to do. Congratulations, Survivor!!

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  7. 10 years cancer free. Congratulations, Marilyn. That’s excellent news.

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  8. That is a milestone Marilyn. I always knew you were a survivor.
    Leslie

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  9. Congratulations to you, Marilyn. This is a big deal. My melanoma stayed away for 9 years, then came back with a vengeance. Now I stand at 8 months since my last chemo treatment…..and counting.

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    • I have been very lucky. I know that. The tumors were not aggressive AND I got really top quality medical care. The rest of it was luck and maybe a little celestial intervention. You hang on in there. They keep improving treatments. Right now, 8 months sounds really good. I remember counting the days. It’s good we stay alert so at least we notice if something changes. And ten years is great, but it doesn’t mean it — or some other form of cancer — won’t come back. My mother was fine until it hit her lungs. It was almost 20 years later. We don’t get cured. We get remissions.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is. But my mother died of the cancer that had been in remission for nearly 20 years. In this cancer world, we don’t look for a cure. We look for long remissions. And hope they don’t suddenly turn into something else.

      This was how I finally got my son to stop smoking. I pointed out that both his mother AND his father had cancer. His grandmother (my side) died of it as did all of his maternal great grandparents AND his uncle (my brother). He decided that was as good a reason as anyone could get.

      I send you loving thoughts 20 times a day.

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  10. This is good news. Being a twelve-year survivor of colon cancer and afdter many surgeries, I just hope I don’t need any more. But, with a defibrillator, I, too, fear the coronavirus and stay as close to home as possible. So sad to have this hanging over our every days.

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    • I know. So far, so good. Before COVID, even the flu scared me. When you are sufficiently fragile, you get a bit paranoid about germs. I won’t let anyone who is sick into my house because I KNOW either Garry or I will catch it. And at our ages, even a simple cold can make you very sick.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. One milestone down. Many, many more to go. Wishing you continuous health and well-being.

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    • And you too. I’m already older than my mother ever got or for that matter, my older brother. It would be nice if we can survive the pandemic, too. Keep well, stay safe. I think there is hope not too far down the road.

      Like

  12. Wish you a long, healthy and happy life!

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  13. Not a bad thing to tick off your list. Be well.

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  14. Good wishes on your milestone, and here’s to many more years of health!

    Like

  15. I hope you’ve a long and healthy life my friend

    Like

  16. Look at that likes are back! Congratulations on reaching a milestone Marilyn.

    Like

    • I almost couldn’t get on WordPress this morning. It just wouldn’t come up. It’s a good milestone. It doesn’t mean I’m cured, but at least I’ve gotten this far, so maybe it will go all the way — if something else doesn’t get me first. Damn COVID!

      Liked by 1 person

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