"Yikes...that's high for me!"
"I guess I am a little anxious." The nurse didn't comment. Just smiled.
I was indeed anxious. This was the first time I would meet my oncologist, and she had the results of all my tests in her highly trained hands. The onca-type test results had made it in to her office late the night before, just in time for my appointment. That would determine how my specific cancer would respond to the medicine, and to chemo. It was critical in directing her advised treatment plan.
I knew a boatload of friends and family were praying for me. I had put out the impossible request. Please pray for no chemo...and no radiation.
"It's an audacious prayer," I told one friend.
"May as well pray big!" my friend told me. We do have an audacious God, after all.
The oncologist arrived.
"I hear you are doing really well," she said, after introducing herself. (Hmmm. I wonder who was talking about me.)
"I am. Miraculously really." Cross-shaped earrings dangled from her ears. A believer! Praise God.
"You'll be doing even better when we go over the results."
This boded well!
She was very organized and methodical as she went step by step over all my "numbers." I have perfect estrogen receptors, near perfect progesterone receptors, and excellent Her-2 something or others. Those all weigh in on the risk of reoccurance, as well as the response to medicine and to chemo.
I bet my blood pressure was now 197/90...and rising. I tried to read ahead, since she was showing me the chart with all my results, but it was Greek to me.
"Now what this means is you will respond exceedingly well to the medication. The surgeon felt he got all the tumors, but sometimes little microscopic cancer cells can still be there. The medication will get those extremely well, based on your numbers."
200/110 and rising.
Cut to the chase! I didn't say that, but was fidgeting a bit. I could explode right there on the examining table, spewing microscopic bits of cancer everywhere.
"Now," she continued, "I understand you are a big exerciser...I hear you are walking a lot. Studies show that those who exercise at three miles an hour for half an hour five days a week have a significantly lower incidence of reoccurance."
"I'm walking eight miles in two hours...eleven miles a day usually," I said. Her eyes opened wide.
"Next, your BMI is at the absolute lowest risk for reoccurance." (In other words, skinny is good!)
"Finally, here are your onca results."
210/130 for sure. My eyeballs were probably protruding right out of their sockets. I am sure my pupils were dilated.
"Now four years ago, with four tumors and any lymph nodes involved, we would not be having this discussion. Chemo would be a no-brainer. However, look at this graph of your onca-test."
I looked. I saw a line that started at a place labeled little risk, and ended at high risk. There was no obvious indication where on that line my onca-test results fell.
"See here? Your first tumor has a score of 1. I have only once seen one score lower. This means there is one percent chance of that cancer returning without chemo. The other tumor, the larger one is a score of 8. Both are extremely low. So low in fact, that you would have a greater risk of the cancer returning with chemo."
"Does that mean no chemo?" I said, hardly daring to believe what I thought I was hearing.
"Praise God!" I shouted, "That is an answer to prayer."
"I thought you'd say that," she said, smiling at me.
"What about radiation? Will that great medicine get all the microscopic cells?"
"Yes...so the radiation is a discussion you need to have with Dr. Bobo."
"I love his name," I told her.
"So do I. He can maybe do very targeted radiation just on the axilla (underarm) lymph area."
"Can we start the meds, and hold off on radiation till after my breast reconstruction for sure?" I asked, "And till after my trip in July to New York to see my siblings and parents?"
"I think that would be fine," she said, "Though you need to meet and discuss that with Dr. Bobo as well."
"Is there a chance I won't need radiation...the medicine will be enough?"
"If it were me, I'd probably get the radiation, but it certainly is worth discussing."
I gripped her hand tightly as she wished me well, and left the room. The nurse hugged me after I checked out. I don't imagine too many happy miracles happen in that building.
After texting all my loved ones, calling my folks, and letting my Facebook prayer warriors know what a glorious result they had been involved in, I headed out to the lovely green-way by the hospital.
I walked to the nearby lake, and meandered along countless paths for seven exultant miles. I think I probably scared some people with my grin as wide as the Atlantic...and I was talking out loud at times. Saying things like: I can't believe it. And Thank you Jesus! And Is this really true?
If God had sent a different result, I was ready to accept it. I had no choice. It was nothing I could control, so I asked God to give me the strength to deal with whatever I had to deal with. I could not believe that what I was dealing with was so wonderful. It's been a long time since wonderful has smacked me so hard in the face.
No chemo! I can keep my hair, my eyebrows, my eye-lashes, my lunch...Such an audacious prayer. Such an audacious God.
Speaking of lunch, I went to Panera's and ordered my favorite salad. I had to celebrate! Plus, those seven miles worked up a powerful appetite. I didn't even mind when the server didn't give me butter for my roll.
I'm going to live!
Granddog Ragnar came over to celebrate too.