Yes, there’s still that pesky question mark in the shape of the spot that’s still lighting up on my PET scan. But the doctor yesterday said that it’s “all good news.” Everything else is gone and the blood clot in my lung has also dissipated.

As for the spot, the doctor doesn’t seem to think it’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It could be a benign tumor. If it doesn’t grow, then they’re not going to worry about it. For the next three to six months until my next scan, it’s back to normal.

Why am I not dancing in the streets? Well, if you’ve ever seen me dance, you’d consider it good judgment. (I seriously considered signing up for a recent Elaine Benes dance contest at a Brooklyn Cyclones game.)

Also, my joints are still a little achey, something that the doctors say should be getting better soon. Apparently, it’s pretty common to have joint pain after a stem cell transplant because of the rapid muscle loss. I’m supposed to continue building strength, so my run up the steps featured in the famous Rocky scenes while in Philadelphia this weekend should prove to be therapeutic.

I should be using more exclamation points. I’m among those who overuse exclamation points to sound enthusiastic or friendly.

I feel oddly deflated. I have been buoying myself up in the face of disappointing news through all of this, and now that I may no longer need to do so, I find myself inexplicably sinking.

I’m fairly certain I have a finite amount of optimism. My boyfriend says I’m a pessimist, but I just like to prepare myself. Just last week, I pointed out that when I came across a bottle of urine under the footbridge near our apartment, I described it as half-full. If that’s not optimism, I don’t know what is.

I’m having a hard time accepting these next six months as a gift where I don’t have to worry. I feel as if I should keep my guard up. I’m afraid to get too comfortable with a (possibly) cancer-free life, only to have it possibly taken away again. I realize that’s silly.

Yesterday I did a quick five minutes of internet research and found that depression after a stem cell transplant isn’t uncommon, even if the results are good. It’s not as if I’m incapable of happiness, but I just feel a little adrift.

Since I started this journey back in February 2013, I lost my full-time job and have been freelancing, which is always laced with uncertainty. For some reason, taking on new projects after the transplant has filled me with crippling self-doubt. Assignments that I would have been able to breeze through have taken longer. I feel constantly overwhelmed and stressed out no matter how much (or little) I have to do.

The thing about depression is that it sometimes creeps up on you just when you think you should feel happy. Then you wonder what’s wrong with you and you feel worse. People try to cheer you up, and you feel even worse for bringing worry to those you care about.

So please don’t worry. I’m OK. I think. Just like the doctors are keeping an eye on the PET scan spot, I’m going to make sure this is just a passing case of the blues and not something that gets bigger and more troublesome. I have plenty of things to look forward to in the coming months—a trip to see family, friends in town, Sharknado 2.

It’s time to get my bearings and figure out where to go from here. Soon my exclamation points will return.

Before I even got the PET scan results, I felt as if I knew what they would be: No change. I still have a spot that lights up.

That’s pretty much all I know. It’s not any bigger, but it doesn’t seem to be any smaller.

The best-case scenario is that it’s not still cancer, and that if it’s not cancer, it’s nothing serious.

I’m meeting with my doctor on Monday to discuss options. When I spoke to him a few visits ago, he seemed to think that if the scan showed that the spot was the same size, we would wait and keep an eye on it.

Even if the scan had showed nothing, I’d still be suspicious that the cancer was waiting to sneak back up on me. Yet though this was expected, I’m a little sad. Mostly, I don’t know how to feel, because I don’t know what this PET scan means.

More conclusively, a CT scan showed that the blood clot in my lung is gone. That’s a good thing, because they had to use a big needle for that test, and since I’m out of veins, the nurse said it would hurt. It did. And then they had to put in a bigger gauge. That hurt too. Also, they did the injection slower so it would hurt me less, but it still felt like my arm was being crushed from the inside. It wasn’t horrible, just unpleasant and weird. I felt like my bloody bandage made me look tough on the train, though.

Uncharacteristically, I don’t have much to say at all. I kind of don’t want to talk about the results, because I’m not even going to venture a guess at what they mean.

Also, I’m supposed to be writing about Greece right now, and I’m behind on my deadlines and work.

So for now, I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other to see what’s going to happen next. If I don’t answer emails or inquiries, don’t worry. As always, I’m just scrambling to do as much as possible in this interim of relative wellness.

In my mind, the spot on the scan is shaped like a question mark. I wish it were like a game of Operation where someone could go in and remove it.

For work, I often have to look up statistics. Just recently, for example, I researched stats for a story on recreational water illnesses. (Spoiler alert: There’s a lot of poo in pools.)

When it comes to cancer stats, however, I know surprisingly little, especially about my own odds. I’m going in for my follow-up PET scan today, the first after April’s autologous stem cell transplant, with only a vague notion of the numbers associated with the success rate.

It’s tricky in my case, because the stem cell transplant is much more effective of reducing the risk of the cancer returning if you achieve complete remission first. I’m not sure if I did, since the doctors weren’t completely sure what the tiny part glowing on the PET scan pre-transplant was—if it was still Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in the unlikely location of my pancreas, or if it was something else.

Today’s scan could show nothing, meaning that the spot was Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and the radiation and stem cell transplant worked in getting rid of it. Or something will still light up. My doctor says that if it’s still a small spot, we’ll just keep an eye on it. If it’s bigger, then it’s probably not Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and we’ll have to figure out what it is. (If you’ll recall, theories include an actual fire in my belly or an E.T.-like glow. Instead of my heart glowing like an endearing extra-terrestrial, my pancreas is where love resides.)

I’ve also never been a numbers person. Numbers have only dragged down some of the only numerals I’ve cared about—standardized test scores and GPAs.

The only D I’ve ever received on a report card was in algebra my freshman year of high school. (Thankfully, gym was pass/fail.) I spent a lot of that class avoiding the chalkboard displaying the numbers, some of which were teamed up with letters in attempt to confuse me. These traitor renegades of the alphabet didn’t even spell anything, something that seems mad and obscene and makes my brain shut down. Instead, I spent my time talking to a friend who sat behind me. So much time, in fact, that the exasperated teacher once interrupted by unending stream of chatter by turning my desk around in the middle of class so I was finally facing forward.

In college, I had to take a class called Math 075, the zero indicating that it was high school level math. I thought I did pretty well in class—some of the math had finally sunk in—but I still only got a C. I got a B in my college statistics class, despite realizing, halfway through the quarter when I looked at the syllabus, that I didn’t have the prerequisite math. (So much for my supposed reading skills.)

At restaurants, when a bill comes and people need to figure out what they owe, I dutifully look at the check, pretending to read it until someone else does the math. It usually works out OK, unless I’m with someone else who also does this and there are only the two of us at the table. I once sat with a like-minded friend over the bill for about a minute before we both had to admit we were waiting for the other person to figure things out.

I had lunch recently with that friend and have been able to go out and enjoy the summer. We spent a night in the Hudson River Valley with friends. I got a Keith Hernandez bobblehead at the Seinfeld-tribute Brooklyn Cyclones game. I’ve seen Dazed and Confused and Sharknado outside and met up with a friend for lobster rolls and ice cream. Things are getting back to normal—even my plentiful facial hair has returned, and I’ve gone to the threading salon to tame my Wham!-era George Michael eyebrows. But there’s always a footnote that plagues me: This might just be temporary.

Today, I feel both nervous and numb. I’m not preparing myself for good news. As I told someone last week, I feel as if I’ve had bad luck and so it seems as if my bad cancer luck would continue, as if it has some sort of momentum. Every scan until now has shown something abnormal, so it seems as if I should prepare myself for another questionable scan. It’s not logical or scientific, just a way to protect myself from getting my hopes up.

Going in to treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the odds were good. People tell you how lucky you are to have “the good cancer,” because of the high survival rate and the likelihood that the cancer will be cleared up in months. It’s been about a year since I first got an inkling that the ABVD chemotherapy might not be working. Since then, I’ve had three months of Brentuximab, two rounds of ICE chemo, two weeks of radiation and the month-long stem cell transplant hospital stay. I’ve fallen in with the unluckiest of the “lucky” Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients.

Another person in this category suggested I join an online group for relapsed and refractory Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients. It’s a very supportive group full of brave people, but it also makes me aware of just how many have to fight this cancer for years—and that some people lose. Within a week, three people died. I don’t know what the percentage that is. If it were for work, I’d have to figure out the stats, but I’m not interested in this morbid task. One seems like way too many.

There are always inspiring stories about those who beat the odds. It’s less inspiring when the odds seem to be in your favor and then you end up in the undesirable portion of those statistics.

I don’t want to ponder my own numbers. Even if the results are good, I’m not going to have a celebration. I’m too wary—almost superstitious that celebrating the end to cancer would invite its return. (Logic isn’t my strong point. It’s too closely related to math. I thoroughly enjoyed my college Intro to Logic class but still got a C.)

I know I’m not the only person who is cautious about optimism. Once you have had cancer, there’s a fear it will return. Something’s made an attempt on your life and you don’t know if it’s ever coming back for you. There’s an invisible target on your back.

Of course, there’s always the unknown other. “I could get run over by a bus tomorrow,” people sometimes say.

Oddly, I’m also paranoid that I will indeed get run over by a bus after going through all this trouble to live. Alanis Morissette would call this irony, but she would be wrong. Irony was when I cancelled plans with friends so I could finish writing a story with statistics about how hanging out with friends is better for your health and well-being than working.

As I head to my PET scan today, I’m going to try not to think about the statistics that may or may not be in my favor or my bad luck. Instead, I’ll try to focus on a good number—I’m not sure of the quantity. It’s the number of people who have been so supportive along the way. That makes me very lucky, regardless of the today’s outcome or what lies ahead.

No matter what happens, I will still try to continue to enjoy each day as much as I can.

Weeks ago, a concerned friend sent me a message to make sure I was OK after a dearth of social media posts. I emailed her back to let her know that it’s not for any health reasons. In fact, I’m feeling well enough that things are somewhat back to normal. Honestly, I’ve been busy and not busy, and it’s been the latter that has been inexplicably keeping me from getting things done—like updating this blog.

On that particular day, I was actively avoiding social media because it was right after the Game of Thrones finale, and I was several seasons behind, so I was worried about spoilers. Now I’m caught up and can freely peruse the internet.

As a freelancer, I seem to usually swing from having no work to having a lot to do. The no-work times aren’t as fun and carefree as you might think, since I spend the entire time stressing out about not having work. I also tend to get depressed and listless, so not only am I not working, but I’m also not getting the things done that I tell myself I would do with time off (like updating my portfolio). I find myself half-heartedly doing tasks at a slow pace.

I spend much of the time on pointless worrying. I was comforted by the story I saw about the study that found that most people feel better doing something than doing nothing. Basically, this study confirmed what Louis C.K. told Conan O’Brien months ago. Without things I didn’t absolutely have to be doing, I felt adrift.

Since I felt as if I should be devoting all my time to finding work, I didn’t update the blog either. I have a bunch of posts I never finished. But now that I have work to do, I also feel as if I have free time to blog. Oddly, I feel as if I can’t have only free time—it has to be balanced with work.

I’ve also had trouble focusing, and I can’t tell if this is just not having structure, or if it’s “chemo brain,” which I just read has been proven, according to a new study.

To help myself focus, I’ve been going back to making to-do lists. Sometimes I write things on my to-do list that I’ve already done, in order to cross them off and feel as if I’ve accomplished something. Someone suggested I put “write to-do list” at the top, so I can cross it off immediately.

I even put “blog” on my list. Though the dent in my list is small, I made some progress today. Below are some additional things I accomplished today that were not on my list, as well as why they’re important.

Reminded my friend that he owes me $1 million that he lost in a bet to me last night. He thought that an old Saturday Night Live skit featured Jimmy Fallon, but it was Chris Kattan. I also reminded my boyfriend that he owes me $8,999,975 over a few ill-advised bets about ‘80s songs. If they pay up soon, I can retire. However, seeing as they’re also writers/editors, this is unlikely. Perhaps my time would be better spent seeking friends who are foolish enough to make such bets with me, but who also have the funds to pay. I’ll put that on my to-do list.

Read about Jessica Simpson’s wedding. This was really important for several reasons. I’ve kicked my celebrity gossip habit, for the most part, but I continue to involuntarily collect useless pop culture knowledge. Often, they’re tidbits so obscure, they don’t even help me out in trivia. I can’t even talk to anyone else about this information. I’m pretty sure all of this is crowding out things that I need to remember, so I’ve cut down on gossip intake.

However, I decided recently that it is part of my civic duty to read at least some new celebrity news to avoid the alarming instance of recycled old news I’ve seen presented as new. Last week, I was irrationally irritated when I saw Ryan Gosling was trending, and it was a decade-old story about how he and Rachel McAdams—whom he later dated—didn’t get along on the set of The Notebook. I’ve known that for 10 years, since the movie came out. (Not that I’ve seen the film. It looks mushy, and I have a cold, cold heart.) But this was being presented as news! You can imagine my outrage—and subsequent relief to learn that he is trending today for a legitimate, new reason.

You know who has seen The Notebook? Jessica Simpson. She apparently saw it on an airplane and she decided she wanted a love like that, and that’s when she decided to divorce Nick Lachey. Why do I know that? I don’t know. As I said, I retain useless knowledge that I read years ago.

For this trip down the aisle, I saw a headline that said she went for a Great Expectations theme, so I had to click to learn more. I’ve read only part of the book, but Charles Dickens’ description of the bitter spinster Miss Havisham has stayed with me. Jilted at the altar, everything in the house is left as it was the moment she found out the groom wasn’t coming to the wedding. From what I remember, she sits with the clock stopped at that time, wearing only one shoe, the wedding dress sagging on her withered frame. Settings for guests are left out, a dusty cake goes uneaten.

I pictured the wedding in a cobwebby mansion with the bride in a yellowing dress. Also, Havisham’s not big on love, so it seemed like an odd choice. To my mild disappointment, the wedding was based on the 1998 movie. Still kind of weird, because it’s just an OK film at best. I listened to the soundtrack a lot, because I liked the songs from Pulp and Mono, and the Tori Amos song was good. Anyway, I hope Simpson’s finally found her Notebook love.

Now that I think about it, it’s my pop culture knowledge that has won me the millions currently owed to me. So the five minutes I spent reading about the wedding could pay off big some day, provided I bet the right person with the funds to pay up. Yes, this was a worthy pursuit.

Played the theme songs to Game of Thrones and Orange Is the New Black to see if my fatter cat has a Pavlovian response and associates these sounds with begging for ice cream as I watch TV. He does not. I conclude that this means my ice cream habit isn’t as dire as I feared. Or maybe (possibly) the cat isn’t as smart as I’d hoped. This was science and clearly very necessary.

Watched some internet cats. I don’t do this as much as people seem to think, but in my defense, I was celebrating crossing something off my to-do list, and the video is very short.

Wrote this blog. Oh, wait, this was on my list. Phew. Time to celebrate…