Friday, March 9, 2007

Oh how special those three little words are…

“No abnormal lymphadenopathy”

What, were you expecting love and romance? You need to be ALIVE for those other three little words to mean anything!

I have been on pins and needles all day after getting a message that the nurse who is handling my case needed to speak with me right away. Urgent messages always ring off alarm bells for me. So all day I’ve struggled to get any work done at all, little worst-case scenarios running through my head.

15 minutes ago I got a phone call – the nurse had received the report on my CT scans, but they were sealed and addressed to my oncologist. She wanted to know what I wanted her to do. So of course I had her open the envelope and read the report to me. You thought I was going to wait another week?

The tests showed no tumors, no swollen lymph nodes, so signs of cancer at all really. I’ve just come back from the ladies room, where I went to do the happy dance in private. I feel so light and relieved, knowing I’m now going into my 4th year of remission. Each year that passes, the chance that the cancer will return diminishes, although I know that I will never be completely free from the risk, and the fear, of relapse.

So here are three more words for you:

I love everyone !

The world is so beautiful today, even with the rain and rubbish I see out of my dingy office window. To be born in a time and place where I have the opportunity for a long and healthy life…I just feel so blessed. If I had been born just a generation or two sooner, I probably wouldn’t have even made it to 30.

Although, that thought brings me back down to earth. I am alive now because I got about 150,000 dollars worth of top-quality medical care from the US government. I live in a country where the average life expectancy is 37, and where most people don’t have access to treatment costing hundreds of dollars or less.

Earlier this week, after leaving a meeting with a donor, I asked “Why is it that we don’t think twice about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat critically ill children in the West, and yet we have to fight to justify spending 200 dollars to treat a dying child in Africa?”

Nonetheless, I sure am glad it was me who got that treatment. I will not let my liberal guilt ruin my mood today. It can come back tomorrow. Tonight I have some celebrating to do.


Jesse said...

G ~ I am SO relieved and glad for you! All my love ~ J

Dad said...

Great news!

Anonymous said...

Yay, Gwyneth! I'm so so happy for you. Can't wait to hear more good news from you!


mary carstens said...


i am so happy you got back happy results. the waiting to hear back sounded scary. yay!