Friday, August 8, 2014

New Lease on Life?

Well, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it, but my surgical oncologist proclaimed me "officially" stage 1B and NED yesterday. No evidence of disease. NO evidence of disease. No EVIDENCE of disease. I have found that depending on where you put the stress, this little phrase can sound more or less reassuring. I really am going to have to learn how to live with uncertainty, aren't I? 

So, my surgical oncologist was back from Greece and ready to tell me his thoughts. He showed me the report from the Gottlieb lab (oart of the Loyola family), which said my node was "trace positive". While we sat together, he called the Loyola lab, where my results had been looked at by the melanoma expert. She said my node was "absolutely negative".

I explained to the doc that although I appreciate the good news (and I do!), I still feel uneasy. He said he understood. I asked if there would be any benefit to running any scans to be sure. He said that even with financial considerations aside, scanning me at this point would be a bad idea for my health. He feels I am somewhat likely to have a false positive result from a scan that would take us down a bad path, and extremely unlikely to have any metastatic melanoma in other areas of my body.

To be more certain, he asked me to schedule an appointment with Dr. Joe Clark, the medical oncologist who will be on my team if I have active disease (which it seems I do not). He said that Dr. Clark can meet me, look over my file, look at the weird lab results and decide what it all means. 

I do find that visit with Dr. Clark to be reassuring, at least partially. He has an excellent reputation in the field of melanoma, and although I haven't met him yet, I have confidence in his ability to sort through this mess. I'll see him on September 2nd.

Until then, I'm going with stage 1B and NED, baby! This calls for some celebration. 

My friend took me motorcycle shopping! As I've been going through the (mindblowingly slow) process with melanoma, I have been trying to focus on "what's next" when I get through it. I want to learn a new skill, find some adventure, and have fun with my husband. Learning how to ride a Harley fits that bill! 

My husband and I and two of our oldest friends signed up for a Basic Rider Course at Rock Valley College for the weekend o September 20th. At that time, we'll do a full weekend of learning and prepare to get our motocycle licenses. 

Before then, we need helmets, gloves, sunglasses, and boots. Shopping! It also seemed like a great time to sit on some motorcycles and see how they feel. 

We went to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Lisle, Il and met an AWESOME salesman named Joe. Joe showed us the ropes and treated us like "real" customers, even though I felt like I was pretending to be a biker chick, haha. We found two bikes to consider, one new and one used. 

We gooofed around with some helmets (hello, selfie!)...

...and generally had an incredibly fun time. I'm going to keep living my life to the fullest and enjoying myself. Melanoma is going to have to wait for ME! 

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