The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Walking a little more lightly

When I was a younger man, say in my late teens (watch the snickers out there!), I would revel in the out of doors. In my fading memory, I went hiking or climbing every other weekend - first with the Boy Scouts and then with friends in college. Summers were a special time, when we could plan and then execute trips of 50 miles or more throughout the Washington Cascades and Olympics, and even into the Canadian Rockies. There were meals to invent, package, and dole out among the group. There was trail planning, with an eye towards appropriate distances per day and campgrounds. And, inevitably, there were the blistered feet, the feeling of pack straps literally cutting into shoulders, and the sweat of the trail. Of course, these drawbacks were more than counterbalanced by the exhilaration of accomplishment at the end of each day, the warm camaraderie found while singing old songs around a campfire late into the evening, the freedom from the noises of the city and its constant humming energy, and the chance to be outdoors.

One of my favorite moments during a day's hike occurs right when we arrive at the selected campsite. I would stop, look around for a moment to get my bearings and decide on a tent location, then shrug off my backpack and unlace my boots. Then, for the next few moments walking around barefoot, I felt like I was floating. The weight of a tent, sleeping bag, cooking utensils, stove, clothing, etc. quickly adds up, and once you remove that burden your legs can tell. You feel like you are walking on air.

Today I feel just a little lighter on my metaphorical feet. After a mere twelve, uncomfortably toxic months, I got a clean bill from the same gastroenterologist that shined a light where light rarely shines at the beginning of this cancerous adventure. My second annual colonoscopy was completely clear. No additional blebs, no unusual colors, no bumps, no divots - just your basic healthy colon. The procedure summary (like my colon) was short and to the point: "Evidence of prior intervention in the colon, otherwise normal colon." This is almost as good as seeing the word "unremarkable" on a radiologist's report. And his recommendations? "Colonoscopy recommended in 2 years, patient will be sent a reminder letter - resume regular diet as tolerated."

Ever felt like you could walk on air? Yup, me too.


Paul said...

GREAT NEWS, ED!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful coda to a harrowing journey. Peace.


Megan said...

congratulations, Ed.

And Rock On.