Monday, January 23, 2017

Clean For 2017!

I start this first post of 2017 saying I am now 5 years NED!! I have had 2 scans since I last posted, the most recent being in December of 2016. Clean, clean, clean in 2017! 
So here I am cancer free still. I am starting to even entertain the idea of considering myself a "healthy" person. That isn't a category I put myself in. When Dr. Moriarty told me 5 years ago that there is no evidence of cancer it's not as if all of a sudden, "poof" the last 5 years of fear and illness, and well, fear and illness disappear. Not to mention the cancer had been gone and come back before. So I am pretty slow to move on I guess. But over the last month I would think "hmm just maybe....I can entertain healthy." Is that so bad? I guess I am getting there. 

It has definitely been a different kind of journey these later 5 years dealing with the emotional aftermath of things. Something I didn't anticipate after remission and felt guilty for even having to admit any struggles at all. 
But I would much rather be working on that than be living the ambiguity of late stage cancer. I am so grateful. There are many people I am grateful too also. Not the least of whom, is Dr. Daniel Moriarty. That guy had the nerve to retire last April! Can you believe it?

I couldn't bring it up in the last post. My emotions were too raw. Having known the whole year previous this day was coming, I don't think it mitigated my heartbreak all that much. Logically I knew it was good and right. Deep down I was and still am very happy for him. But after being in the trenches hand and hand with this person, this person who not only saved my life, but became my mentor, my cheerleader, and a very cherished friend saying goodbye does not come easy. He saw me through 5 years of hell, and the next 4 years recovering from hell and all the fear and worry of recurrence that comes with being in remission. Aside from my husband I don't think anyone else has seen my cry and stomp and blubber more than this man. What a lucky guy huh?

There are only a few people in this world who have deeply impacted my life in the way that he has. So if you have a moment please spare a kind thought and/or a prayer for my friend. Someone who possesses great intelligence, wisdom, and even greater compassion not only for me, but for all of his patients, absent of all the ego he has every right to have. That's what makes him a beautiful doctor, and an even more beautiful human being. 
That's my Dr. Moriarty. I miss him, but I am so happy for his new life, and I hope it is full of joy, and laughter and peace. 

Thank you Dr. Moriarty.


Jim Gallic said...

Karen, congratulations on another milestone. It is inspiring to see how you have overcomed the diagnosis and started to live as a "healthy" person. We will be sure to pray for Dr Moriarty and the rest of the team that cared for you.

Karen Shanahan said...

@Jim-thanks buddy! Always happy to see your smiling face around town. No one would ever know of your own battles and how you too have blasted forward!

James said...

So great to be healthy :) Glad your doing good Karen

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiration to so many cancer sufferers and their families, more than you will ever know :)

Anonymous said...

HI Karen I am new to this. In January my son Josh was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer he is 33 years old. I know that it is happening to him but I am devastated. He is single I hate every time I have to leave him. I am being his caretaker during his chemo. I wish he would move home so I could be with him every day and he would not be alone. I know that what I want and what he wants is not the same I know he wants to be in his own home so I want him to be happy so I go to him. I can't imagine loosing my son please if anyone can help me to know how to help him please help me help him....

Julia Mota said...

I would like to thank you Karen because your blog has given me so much hope and determination. I recently got diagnosed with stage 4 Colon cancer. I know the statistics and I know cancer affects everybody differently, but you have given me that little glimmer of light that's shining through the end of a dark tunnel. I needed to know that there is someone out that that made it and is doing well. Your blog gives me fait that I can do this as well. And I wanted to thank you for that

K.M. Camiolo said...

So glad for 5 years of NED!
And yikes...I know G's doc is close to retirement...but ...
yeah. I may show up at her front door occasionally.
Wishing you peace in each moment, always. :)
Kristin & the Cams crew

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your good news...Best wishes to You!

JustIdle said...

Would like to connect with Karen regarding recent this possible??

Theresa Keegan said...

Hi Karen-

I cam across your blog through another site and I was just curious, when you say you get scans done every 6 months are you getting both a CT and a PET scan, or just CT scans?

I ask because my mom, who is 52 and recovering from being stage IV colon cancer as well. She had the liver resection and colon resection with 12 chemo treatments of Folfox/Folfiri. Last Chemo in May with both PET/CT done in July which said she was all clear. We have not had the type of relationship you describe with your physician and want to know if we are on the right track, i believe he said a CT scan every 6 months with blood work every 3 months would be appropriate. I am a nurse, but I do not work in oncology so advice/information I get is a bit scattered and I thought maybe asking a survivor would be better.

Thank you so much,

Karen Shanahan said...

@Theresa - I am so glad to hear that your mom is doing so well and has clear scans!
I only get CT scans done now. After I was told I was all clear my Onc also recommended every 6 months. But just CT scans. I wasn't very happy about it. But I knew as long as my blood work was good and my CEA numbers were good and checked every 3 months than I should be okay.

I hope this helps.


Karen Shanahan said...

@JustIdle - you can email me through the "contact me" page on the right hand side of the blog.