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Judgment Day #5 - ALL CLEAR - December 3, 2009

Posted Dec 01 2009 12:00am
It was a cold, clear beginning to Judgment Day 5 with 9F (-13C) reading on the outside thermometers this morning. As usual I had mostly cleared my schedule for the day before, and had a quiet evening at home. Also usual is the battle with trepidation, all confidences in God and my own treatment regimens aside. As David F. pointed out in his blog post here, the brain is supposed to be your friend, but it will play funny tricks on you when cancer is involved - running through every scenario of doubt or disaster. One thing that made it different this time is that after four of these judgment days accomplished with good results, I was much better able to imagine and visualize a positive outcome scenario. For the first three I had stubbornly insisted on not planning ANYthing at all for after the judgment day. For the last one, I planned a dinner outing a week following - a big leap of faith for me.

For this one I cleared the schedule yesterday and today, but I actually went to work part of the day yesterday, and I have a meeting scheduled for 8AM tomorrow morning. Plus dinner outings, Christmas parties, and the lot all planned out for the next few weeks. Given the knowledge that a good outcome was possible, if not theoretically probable, I was able to focus my energies yesterday on working the best case scenarios. Sure, the old brain, left to its devices, jumped to some bad scenarios, but I was able to simply focus on tasks at hand to stay on the positive path. I kept myself busy with household chores, internet research, and even planned a celebratory dinner out tonight - which will now be executed. I even toyed with the idea of picking out a wine from our newly refreshed supply, but decided to leave that happy task for this afternoon.

All of this plotting worked well, and I dropped into bed by 11PM last night, falling asleep quickly. I slept soundly until 4:45AM, and that was that! Spent some time reflecting, spinning scenarios (mostly good with some bad ones in for practice), and then got up early. Resumed planning things based on a positive outcome, watched a little television, and practiced my deep breathing techniques for the uneventful hour drive to the doctor's office. We arrived 10 minutes early and signed in without issues - other than to be informed that Dr. Hopkins was running a bit late - quite normal for this time of day (11AM). We were shown to the exam room by Margaret, his usual assistant for these scope procedures. After faithfully delivering a urine sample, I also said hello to Gloria, our favorite assistant for BCGs. Margaret made everything ready, noting that the camera was available today - much to my delight. She suggested getting undressed and hopping on the table. Experience has taught me to ask if we were next. Margaret admitted that there were 3 ahead of me, and agreed to notify us when I was next. This allowed me to spend most of the wait time sitting and dressed rather than lying half naked - a marked improvement in the total experience.

While we were waiting Gloria came in and showed us her daughter's 8th grade school photo. Beautiful little girl - she has apparently told mom that all the boys in her class are stupid and immature. Certainly true, and unlikely to change in the next several years (if ever)! We exchanged more pleasantries and soon it was announced that I was next. A short wait on the table and Dr. Hopkins came right in and got to work. Kathryn and I both watched on the screen as the scope went where it was designed to go and showed us everything inside. Looked perfect to me, even better than several months ago. The doc does not like the tv scope as well because everything is upside down - "The bottom of the screen is not the bottom of you..." But he managed well and was all complete and gone within 3 minutes of his arrival. He cleared us to schedule the next cystoscope and BCG next March, putting a crimp in my March Madness basketball plans. Sometimes cancer is damned inconvenient...

All scheduled and booked and back home to inform close friends via email and other close friends and strangers via this blog posting! On the schedule for this evening is a nice dinner out for the two of us with a great bottle of wine (or two)! If you ever find yourself near Salt Lake City, a wonderful and reliable choice of restaurants is Meditrina. Located conveniently outside of the downtown area and right by the minor league ball park, it is one of our favorite places to go for dinner. Maybe we will see you there tonight or some time soon!

The ALL CLEAR report today marks 18 months now cancer free. Cysto and BCGs at 21 months in March, and the biggie two year point next June - after which I can CAUTIOUSLY begin to use terms like "remission" and "survivor." That seems far in the future still, and statistically that may be the case. But I know that statistics consist of older people who have no hope or faith and do only one or perhaps two of the ten things I am pursuing for treatment regimens. So my confidence grows, despite a feeling of unreality that always seems to happen after these inpsections. And I will be peeing fire for a day or two just to keep me honest. And one other thing I know, GOD IS GOOD - ALL THE TIME.

Lyrics by Don Moen

If you're walking through the valley
And there are shadows all around
Do not fear, He will guide you
He will keep you safe and sound
'Cause He's promised to never leave you
Nor forsake you and His Word is true

God is good all the time
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine
God is good all the time
Through the darkest night, His light will shine
God is good, God is good all the time

We were sinners - so unworthy
Still for us He chose to die
Filled us with His Holy Spirit
Now we can stand and testify
That His love is everlasting
And His mercies - they will never end
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