Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Rianne is CANCER-FREE!
“I cannot live scared to death to live!” Rianne would wake up some days with an anxiety attack greeting her even before she left the bed. “The anxiety is killing me,” she often said. Rianne couldn’t take it anymore! She was scheduled to meet with her Oncologist on December 21st, but her anxiety was choking the strength right out of her. She had to know and she had to know immediately. On Tuesday, December 14th she made the call, begging to know the results of the Post-Treatment PET Scan. Minutes later her Oncology Specialist returned the call and told Rianne that the Scan looked clean and that Rianne is CANCER-FREE!
Tears of joy overcame her as she struggled to catch her breath. She was at work when she took the call, which was very positive, as she has an incredible support group at Curry County Title. She enjoyed a moment of celebration with her co-workers before she gave me a visit. Katie brought her to the high school to tell me the good news. I was just locking up the Metal Shop when she slowly stepped out of the vehicle and began her walk toward me. Her face was long and her eyes were red. It was the first day since April that she drove herself to work, so I immediately assumed that something was awfully wrong with her. Before she reached me quick scenarios ran through my mind - “is she sick and needs me to take her home? Does she have anxiety again and does she need me to take her to her doctor? Did something happen to one of her parents?” Naturally I assumed the worst, as I’ve learned throughout her battle with cancer that I should never get my hopes up too high. As she continued to walk toward me I read the face that I have seen look that way so many times before. I knew that what she was about to tell me was not going to be good.
“I called Susan and got the results of the PET Scan back.” She said.
“The cancer is back, isn’t it?!” I dejectedly said.
“She told me that they couldn’t find anything and that I’m cancer-free!” The words barely made it out of her mouth before she exploded into tears. She was crying so hard that her body shook. She leaned into my arms and sobbed. I asked her if they were tears of joy and she simply shook her head “yes!” She no longer needed to talk – all she wanted was to be held. Tears flowed from my eyes, as well.
Since then plenty has happened. She was greeted with numerous phone calls from friends and loved ones who expressed their congratulations to her for being cancer-free and winning the fight. Her anxiety levels have dropped drastically since she heard the good news - and deservedly so! A giant burden was lifted off of her shoulders when she was told that the cancer was gone.
Unfortunately, however, she has not yet returned to her normal self. “Give it 6 more months” she was told by Susan, her Oncology Specialist. “Your whole existence on the face of this earth has been put into question.” It has been great to be cancer-free, but the frustrations of the recovery period have caused some setbacks.
On Saturday, December 18th she woke with a headache and couldn’t shake it through the course of the day. That evening, Ty and Ashley dropped off the grandkids and went on a date. The combination of a long day, a headache and the activity of baby-sitting quickly developed into a migraine. Her eyes became cloudy and every sound and movement caused it to worsen. I eventually called Ty and he came to the house to pick up the boys. I led Rianne to the van and slowly drove her to the Emergency Room, as each turn and bump in the road intensified the pain. The ER nurse remembered Rianne from her migraine in August and immediately cared for her. This time the doctor went straight to the Dilaudid and had her pain lessened quicker than the treatment for the unbearable August migraine did. We left the ER after a few hours compared to spending numerous hours there 4 months earlier.
She is cancer-free, but she still needs to watch her every move, as do I. Unfortunately, I brought home a cold from the school the last day before Christmas Break began. A few days later her throat was sore. With her immune system suppressed due to the cancer treatment, she struggles longer to fight off colds. She was sick for well over a week and still wakes up with a stuffy nose and a cough.
Her spirits, however, are high and continue to climb. Knowing that she is cancer-free has given her a mental and emotional boost unlike anything she has felt in the past 9 months. Your support, love and friendship have also continued to give her a boost. We both appreciate you and thank you for all that you do!