Steven had scans on Friday and thankfully, they were normal. As you can see from the picture, the new scanner has a pirate themed makeover. As we sat there listening to the machine tell Steven when to breath and when to stop breathing, I couldn't help but think of an amusement park ride and how much scarier this is than anything you could strap me into there.
But in all seriousness, the weeks leading up to Friday have been tough. I've known anxiety in the past, but this was getting a little out of hand. If I wasn't careful, my mind would project a dismal future where Steven and I both had cancer, Rob lost his job, we went bankrupt, divorced and I was in a straight jacket in an institution. Once Rob told me that thoughts like that were the opposite of praying. I've thought a lot about that and so I started praying instead.
The night before the scans, I knelt in prayer and as I was telling God that I really missed Alisa and how much I needed to talk to her about my fears, I was filled with a peace and distinct feeling that she would be with me at the hospital the next day. I slept well and woke up the next morning relatively calm (at least compared to the rest of the last week!). I was able to calmly go to all the appointments and was so happy and relieved to hear the good news that his lungs look clear and his blood work is normal. And truly I felt like Alisa was there to celebrate with me.
Cancer fear was something that she totally understood and she was the person I would call as scans approached and anxiety would creep into my mind. She could always talk me down from my crazy place. Someone asked me what her trick was, and I'm not sure if I can put a finger on it. She knew all the relevant statistics and had a good grasp of the reality of cancer. But at the same time, she saw the hope in the percentage of people of who survived or responded to treatment. She had lots of hope for the future of cancer research and always felt like if she just had more time, they would figure out a cure. In Steven's case, she saw only hope because his prognosis is so much better than hers was. Plus, she felt sure that if his did come back, the cure was just around the corner for him. I think her trick was just that she understood and acknowledged my fears, but then quickly changed the focus of our conversations to all the reasons to hope.
There is a whole lot of hope for Steven. He has been out of treatment now for 3 1/2 years and the doctors feel like he is past the time where the cancer is most likely to come back. They will do a scan in December and if all looks good, we will discuss moving to annual chest xrays instead of the scans. Xrays are less detailed, but they also emit less radiation. Moving to an xray is just another vote of confidence that the cancer is gone for good.
By the way, Steven is doing really well. We've spent a lot of time this summer in appointments with doctors, orthodontists, audiologists, and prosthetists. They've made him a new leg, but that took two tries, because the first didn't fit right. He's still kind of figuring out the leg he has--with some adjustments, it is better, but there are still moments when his walk isn't quite right. He and his friend started a small lawn mowing business. He is spending lots of time with my parents and the Linton boys.
Here is a little video clip of Steven at the swimming pool. This wasn't his best flip, but it was the only one I captured. My friend thought I should put it on the blog--he certainly gets a lot of interested looks when we are at the pool.