I have really struggled since my diagnosis in 2013. The idea of dying and leaving my daughters behind just absolutely gutted me. Before my surgery, the doctors were hopeful that it was contained to my appendix, in which case, the long term prognosis was very good. If any of the cells get into the abdomen, though, it would be a very different story. After my surgery, the pathology was unfortunately murky, and they were not able to tell me much about prognosis. It's been very wait-and-see, with regular monitoring appointments. In dealing with this uncertainty, I've had moments where I'm completely fine, and moments when I can't deal at all. But when I think about the girls. . .that's the piece of it I just can't even contemplate. I can't leave them. I just can't. They need me, and I need to be here for them.
So every time I have to go for a monitoring appointment, it is extremely stressful for me. Will this be the moment when everything changes? The weeks and days leading up to the appointment, the drive to a nearby city to see a specialist, that space in between the CT scan and the doctor delivering the news. . .it's just all really tough.
I am coming up on three years now. It will be three years at Christmastime. But I got sick of doing my appointments close to the holidays, because I felt like it cast a dark shadow over a time of year I love. So I bumped the appointments, so they are no longer around the holidays. It hasn't gotten any easier, these appointments, but at least they do not overshadow the most festive time of year.
Which is a long way of saying that I just had my monitoring appointment, and it went well. There is no sign of a recurrence. Or in my doctor's words, my "scans look good" Every time she says it, I think she's saying my skin looks good. So weird that I misheard her in that way. But anyway, she also said this time that most recurrences are found in the first two years after this type of neoplasm. They'll continue to monitor me for five years, and I won't be totally considered out of the woods until 10 years out. It's the first time that I've really been able to exhale. Maybe, just maybe, I can stop worrying about the "what ifs" and start living totally in the now.