4 months clear - and clean

Thursday was nervous time. I was to find out the results of my first set of tests after being declared cancer free. I had a CT scan a few weeks ago and a PET about two weeks ago.

These and a blood test would help my doctor determine if the lymphoma was still gone some four months after I got the "no evidence of disease" determination.

I walked into the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Thursday morning. I tried not to be nervous, but I was certainly on edge. After getting my pulse and blood pressure checked (both nicely normal), my doctor came in and said, "How are you today?"

"You tell me," I replied with a weak smile.

"Well," he said, opening my file, "you don't have lymphoma. ..."

Then he paused for a half-beat, during which a million things ran through my mind. My body went cold and I started to sweat. I thought, "What is it? Prostate cancer? Inoperable brain cancer?" It's amazing what the mind can think of in a half-second or so.

"There might be an issue with ..." he said, giving me the long, dangerous-sounding name of a potential problem with my back - something that has nothing to do with cancer. He then ran off a half-dozen symptoms, none of which applied to me. He then shrugged his shoulders and said a CT was not the best test to determine an issue and said I likely don't need to be worried.

"But the bottom line is I don't have cancer, right?"

"Right," he replied.

Four months down. A lifetime to go.