December 10 was my New Year's Eve — it was full of hope and renewal.
I have been at loss for words this past month, not because I don't have anything to say, but because I have so many things rolling around in my head, I don't know where to start. Frankly, I am scared to say most of them out loud.
While people celebrated the New Year last week, toasting each other at midnight, I was sound asleep. It may have been the first time in a while that I didn't ring in the New Year. I had a long day on the mountain with my little posse of ski racing girls, so I put myself to bed at 10 p.m. and didn't open my eyes until the next morning.
I already had my celebration as I drove silently about a month prior.
On December 10, I headed down to Boston for my full scan results, bloodwork and the usual poking and prodding looking for symptoms of recurrence. I went by myself, but not because I don't have a loving and supportive husband that wouldn't accompany me or any friends or family that wouldn't take the morning off and drive in with me and hold my hand. I had to do this by myself.
Good times or bad, I am naturally a loner. Most days, there's nothing I can't or won't do alone and there are just some things that I absolutely need to do on my own. It's a gift and curse.
I sat in the office waiting for my oncologist, making jokes with the Jamaican lady that takes my blood every time and thanking the nurse, Michael, for his lunch recommendation six weeks before. I was laughing after the medical assistant weighed me because I was no longer underweight from surgery and stress. I also wasn't overweight from ... well, surgery and stress. It was just another day at the office.
As I waited, I hardly broke a sweat, for once, when my oncologist came in with my results (every other visit, I swear, I might as well have ran 10 miles and popped in to say hi).
"Scans are clean. Your bloodwork is perfect."
He proceeded with the poking and prodding as he asked the usual questions.
"I am fine. I feel good. I am fatigued from the normal routine of life with three busy kids, a full-time job and getting myself back into shape. But, I am good. I am strong, I can outrun Jamey (my husband) again. Life is good."
Reaching this stage in the game meant I had graduated. No more appointments, scans or blood work every six weeks. I would now be on the three-month plan. I had made the six-month mark.
N.E.D. No evidence of disease. I made it to my six-month cancerversary. Six months of no evidence of any cancer in my body. Six months to the day, exactly, since I left the hospital after my second surgery.
I hightailed it out of Boston, driving back to work like it was just another day. I got a few hugs and thumbs up when I told people it went well and that was it. I quietly went on with my hectic day with the occasional quick text or message to my people. Just another day in the life so it may seem.
No declarations of resolve, no champagne bottles popping, no fancy nights out on the town — in fact, I can't even remember what we did. I don't think I even shared it with my family that it was in fact six months to the day. For me, it was everything. It was one of the better days I have had in a long time.
I couldn't say a word. There was so much I wanted to say but too scared to say the words out loud. I was N.E.D for six months. December 10 was my New Year's Eve — it was full of hope and renewal. It was full of life. It was an ordinary day in an ordinary life, but I wouldn't have it any other way.