Punchy Mommy Believes in Life

How I evicted the worst uninvited overnight guest and took back my life

Category: Tumor

Guess What’s Better Than Cancer

carnival ride

Well, the clot is still there. I was really hoping that this would have resolved during the past six months. I don’t know how long this will take to resolve but for now you will be on the blood thinner indefinitely. I looked at DH and back at the doctor and said, ok, but this is better than having cancer, right?

Somewhere along the way I’ve lost my ability to differentiate bad from terrible. At this point, anything but a perfect clean bill of health feels like defeat. Oh my god yes. This is better than relapse. Stunned at what I was hearing, I stared blankly. But people die from blood clots. What if it breaks off and goes to my lungs? My doctor said, luckily your blood clot is very small. Note: he didn’t say you won’t die.

I had an MRI the other day and the blood clot/tissue thing is still there. Right there, hanging around in my heart. Recall when I had a 13 cm tumor in my chest? Remember when it invaded the wall of my SVC and wound it’s way into my right atrium? Well, when the beast was finally killed and left my heart it also left behind some scar tissue, some component of which may be blood clot. My brain-trust came to the consensus that it’s too dangerous to take this thingy out so I just have to wait and hope that it goes away. I also get to wait and hope that I don’t have to be on a blood thinner, a twice daily injection, for the rest of my life; that I can have another baby while on blood thinners and while this thingy hangs around in my heart; and that something truly terrible doesn’t happen. The good news? This is all better than having cancer.

Can I get off this ride?

Finding polaris


Hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu, hu…hu…hu…hu…

It seemed like my new oncologist used the phrase “PET positive” and “relapse” one thousand times as he explained my situation from his standpoint. A cardiologist, a thoracic surgeon, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, a interventional radiologist, a radiologist, many other oncologist on both coasts, and an entire tumor board, have unanimously agreed that a) they don’t know what this 9 mm spot is in my SVC, b) they don’t know if it’s relapse, and c) the best option is to wait-and-see and rescan because no surgeon believes that it can be safely biopsied. 


I’ve been treading water for a few months now but in an instant, it felt like my head was slipping under the surface. I made no room in my life for relapse and I’m not ready to find the space. My last few scans were clean but now there is an area of “concern” as my new oncologist put it. My first thoughts were more chemo, radiation, stem cell transplants, finding a donor, more hospitals, less time with DH and Little Man, more unknown, less hair, more time in bed…And, just as my breath quickened and the air felt thin, DH was there, chipping away at our broken raft and preparing the supports for a new one. We don’t know what this spot is. It very well may be a blood clot or inflammation of your tissue. Your scans have been clean and you responded so well to treatment. We have to believe that this is just a scare and nothing else. I’ve never before wished I had a blood clot but now I’m praying for one. How did I get to a place where I’ve wished for such a ridiculous thing?


Upon reflection, I realized that this plan to wait-and-see and rescan is as it always was. I have been waiting and seeing ever since the end of my treatment. My job is to bob through the white water of remission for the next handful of years while I wait-and-see and rescan. I know what living this feels like. I’ve accepted this task. I known this type of unknown.


Mom and Dad came to visit for the day soon after all of this “excitement.” They came to help us and to, let’s face it, fill up their dwindling Little Man reserves because who doesn’t need a strong dose of Little Man? Their presence reminded me of my place in this world. I’m a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a lawyer, a friend…a person. I’m not just someone fighting cancer. It’s not just about radiologist reports and second opinions and worry and tears. The reminded me that I have work to do. In their eyes, I saw their hopes and dreams of me being great and doing great things. There is so much more of this life that I have to live in between these scans and just when it felt like I had reached my last breath, they maneuvered their tugboat ride up next me, lassoed my fins, and steadied the rocking so I could reorient myself. And together, we just breathed.


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