Amy had her final post-treatment check-up at Cascade Cancer Center yesterday, and I am happy to report that she has been discharged as a patient there, 5 days shy of 5 years since she was initially diagnosed with cancer. Although she continues to experience some side effects from the treatment, according to her doctors, Dr. Matthew Lonergan (at Cascade) and Dr. Michael Hunter (Evergreen Radiology Oncology), she is now officially cancer-free.
We feel very fortunate to have been in the excellent care of Dr. Lonergan and Dr. Hunter and the staffs at the Cascade Cancer Center and the Evergreen Radiation Oncology group, who have provided exemplary personal and professional service throughout this period. We highly recommend them as treatment providers, and I hope they won't take this personally, but I hope that we never see them again for any professional reasons.
This is the 19th - and, I hope, final - post I've written about her / our experience with the anal cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. I've been surprised at how much attention these posts, as well as my posts on my own experience with platelet rich plasma (PRP) elbow treatment, have received. In addition to the relatively high volume of blog comments and page views these posts receive (compared with other posts), I would estimate 90% of blog-related email I receive is based on these two categories. It sometimes seems that the more open, vulnerable and personal I am in my posts - about my experience, or in the case of Amy's cancer, the experience of a loved one - the deeper they resonate with others. However, I suspect a more significant factor is the large proportion of Internet users - 80% of online American adults (in 2006) - who search for health information online.
On a more vulnerable note, I'm chagrined to read my last post in this thread, on the 3-year anniversary, where I acknowledged my awareness and appreciation deficit with respect to her health ... a deficit that has not improved much in the past two years. I also expressed an "intention to celebrate milestones to greater effect (and affect[ion])" ... and yet when she came home last night, we had to turn our attention to preparing for a garage sale we're having today and tomorrow, getting our son to a lacrosse game and other activities of daily living. We will do something special to celebrate this milestone soon ... beyond my writing this short blog post ... which I suppose, for now, represents yet another instance of preaching what I want to practice.
I do want to end on a high note, though, as Amy's cancer was in many ways the most significant challenge we have faced together. We certainly have some challenges now, and I'm sure we'll encounter many more further down the road, but for this moment, I want to simply celebrate her success in rising to meet - and overcome - this challenge.