“No Residual Disease”

This is the 200th post on this blog and I am very pleased that I am able to share some remarkable news.

On Wednesday, I contacted my new Consultant to ask him whether he had received the result of the CT scan from the previous week. He hadn’t, but he called me back about 10 minutes later.

“We can detect no residual disease in this scan. Have a good evening!”

No Residual Disease.

No Residual Disease.

I have taken a couple of days trying to get my head around what this might mean. As I posted at the beginning of the month after my first consultation with him, this “could mean that there really is no disease left, which would constitute being cured.”

No Residual Disease.

The dodgy report done in August 2012 said the same thing (once you’d read between the lines to understand what it actually said). Now, 12/13 months on, there is another, much more reliable report which says the same thing. Equally importantly perhaps, there has been no change in this condition in the last twelve months. NHL is a slow-growing, indolent disease that usually takes its time before causing you any problems. It can take years to show up, especially if it’s growing in the abdomen, where lots of other stuff is going on at the same time. Given that I have already been treated for it, and the usual prognosis, one might expect that any very small pockets of disease that evaded the chemo might have started to grow again by now. This is, after all, one of the reasons why my new man did the CT scan this month – just to check on the disease that cannot be felt manually, in the abdomen.

So, this is out-and-out good news. The best news that I could possibly have hoped for after this scan.

But…

I cannot count my chickens. If this really is true and there really is no further disease at all, then it is remarkable. NHL doesn’t work like that. I was told that it wasn’t curable with at the Stage that I presented with four years ago. It’s manageable. Treatable. But not curable.

On diagnosis, I  very quickly came to terms with the disease and what it meant for the rest of my life. I accepted the fact that I would need treatment over a long period; treatment that would make me sick and which would be unpleasant. I was OK with that and would have done as I was told when told to do something, even if it was to attend hospital and take some more medicine. Now, where does this leave me? This is not quite the same as being diagnosed with something like breast or bowel cancer. These organ / body-part specific cancers can, with some luck and good care, be properly cured and be gone for good. After 5 years (or whatever the period is), you can be pretty sure that it isn’t going to come back. NHL isn’t like that. It hangs around forever.

I now need to re-assess what this means in the medium to long term. IF it’s gone for good, then that’s brilliant and remarkable news. But a part of me, quite a large part of me if truth be told, doesn’t believe it.

The thing is, we will never know if it’s gone for good until I die (of something else).

I will make an appointment next week to see my man before Christmas and will discuss with him in person, what the implications of this report really are. And in the meantime, I will continue to try to live my life as if this was the last day of it.

2 thoughts on ““No Residual Disease””

  1. Hello Andy and congratulations on the excellent news.

    The body is capable of incredible powers of self-healing. I say that whilst you continue to show no signs of the disease and feel fine, you must ‘believe’ it’s gone for good.

    All the best,

    Kevin Shelley

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