The Past 222 Days

On May 10 of this year, I posted my thoughts prior to visiting Emory to speak with my doctor about my first post treatment PET scan. Here is an excerpt of what it said:

Two people have told me that they have strong feelings that there will be nothing significant to be worried about. I feel the same way. I am feeling really good physically and I am ready to move on with life…I am a little nervous, but not a lot nervous. I have a strong feeling of what I think I know, but I guess I am also aware of the possibility that I could be taking a different path.

I did not get the news I wanted or hoped for that day and my summer turned from an armful of great expectations to a reality of sickening chemotherapy, radiation, blood transfusions, countless days at the hospital and a stem cell transplant.

222 days later, I am back to that same spot. I have come all the way around the circle of being treated and recovering from the chemical beatings, and now it is time to take stock of the situation. However, I don’t feel as good now as I did back then. I have made great improvements over the past few weeks but I don’t have the confidence in myself I did then. In May, I was feeling super alive. In March, I made a journey to Colorado and hauled myself hundreds of feet beyond the top of a ski lift at Keystone to the summit of the Outback peak and skied back down. Then in April, I started riding my mountain bike locally and by May, I had committed to training for and competing in a 100 mile bike race. Today, I am a little hesitant to try riding my bike any distance because I am afraid it will launch me into a coughing fit.

On Friday, I will be at Emory getting my first PET scan since the middle of the summer, and certainly the first since the transplant. It’s a big deal. No, it’s a HUGE DEAL. All the work the doctors, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, lab assistants, radiology technicians and hemapheresis team put into getting me through the stem cell transplant will now be tested. All the miserable and sick days I put my family through, especially Angela, Dominic and my parents may be justified now. And the effect of all those positive thoughts that each of you have directed toward me in our conversations and in your quiet moments will now be known.

The appointment is at 7:45 AM and it should be over by 9:30 AM, so by the time most of you read this, the deed will be done. I won’t know anything until Monday though. I go back to see Dr. Langston on Monday, and she will tell me what the PET scan says. Just as before, it will either show that the tumor has ceased activity, or it will show that the cancer is growing and I need to resume chemotherapy or radiation or who knows what. I kind of know what it would mean if the cancer was still growing, but I am not thinking about that option.

Wish me health!

12 thoughts on “The Past 222 Days

  1. Laura Gearhart says:

    The Gearhart’s wish you nothing but the best of health, Dan! We anxiously await to hear the news on Monday! Looking forward to breaking out my goofy happy-dance! Hopefully 2011 will be a year of renewed health, accom

    • Laura Gearhart says:

      (I accidently hit ‘post’ before I was done) The Gearhart’s wish you nothing but the best of health, Dan! We anxiously await to hear the news on Monday! Looking forward to breaking out my goofy happy-dance! Hopefully 2011 will be a year of renewed health, accomplishing goals and setting even bigger ones! You are on our minds and in our hearts. Love you big brother!

  2. Karen says:

    Really can’t wait to experience Laura’s goofy-happy dance!!!!!! Hmmmmm…is this something Isaac will learn??? We are all on your side Dan and looking forward to dancing with Laura! Yep, anxious, cautious and optimistic feelings are running thru our veins. Yet we know the balance of this year, the upcoming year and long into the future will be bright and full. Thinking about you and sending tons of hugs..Love you all!

  3. Barbara Corneal says:

    I read your story this afternoon and my heart goes out to you! I was recently diagnosed with stage IIB…I will be starting my 2nd cycle on Wednesday. Reading your story really scares me since this is just the beginning for me; however, at the same time… you have inspired me. Along with your family and friends, I will await your good news.

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