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.