Three months into my intense chemo, it was time for my PET scan to see how the cancer reacted to all the brutal treatments. Obviously, I was nervous as hell awaiting the results. The following morning, I met with my oncologist who had the computer facing me with what looked like MRI results.
When you spend time fighting cancer, you really begin to realize what's important to you. The little things in life become a lot less relevant, while the major parts of your life become almost equally irrelevant unless they play a part in your survival plan.
Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another. Whether it was a relative, a colleague, or a neighbor, we all know someone who has experienced the anxiety of waiting for test results, endured the rigors of chemotherapy, or felt the heartache of death in cancer's unrelenting grip.
With continued scientific discovery, ongoing efforts to enact cancer control policies and collaboration among key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, we can make this century cancer's last.
Once I finished chemo, I shared my experience with every patient I met and urged them to do the same. After talking to other patients I know that not everyone wants a party. I know that not every patient needs 500 people standing by their side to get them through. Not every patient is Kayla.
I have doctors. Lots of them. I should really say "health care professionals," because not everyone whose is helping me deal with this is an M.D. All of them, however, are what I've decided to call "Team Stan."
Like Walt in Breaking Bad, I have health care insurance from my employer, and like Walt's wife, Skyler, discovers about their insurance, I'm still liable for the deductible, copay and coinsurance portion of the medical fees.
When on cycle two, day two, I told my nurse she was joining my angels here on earth, she told me that one of her previous patients had claimed coming into the infusion room was like going to hell -- now I have a Hell's Angel by my side.
In the first weeks of treatment, I had few side effects apart from fatigue. I thought perhaps I had dodged a bullet and would skate through without much discomfort. It would be clear in the coming weeks just what a tough battle this would be, and the best weight for me was my fighting weight.