Wednesday, January 4, 2012

3 little numbers

I've recently come to realize that sets of 3 little numbers hold a great deal of power in my life. 3 little numbers when combined in the right order can occasionally fill me with joy, dread, irritation, or some combination of the three emotions.

985 for my mother.

314 for one of my oldest friends.

408 for my uncle and aunts living too far away.

713 for the place that has owned most of my time over the last 5 years.

At one time, seeing 713 flash across my cell phone screen used to fill me with annoyance and dread.  During the early days of learning to live with the snarling bĂȘte noir that is cancer, 713 meant another appointment, another hospital stay, more strange news about my condition, another day spent away from home.  The sight of 713 conditioned me so that my heart beat a little faster, my hands became less sure, and I stopped whatever I was doing at the time to scramble for my phone.

After 5 years, endless chemotherapy, and 2 transplants, I've come to realize that 713 doesn't have to be the growling beast gnashing its teeth at the end of a too short leash.  This past Monday, 713 became routine.

A physician's assistant covering for my regular PA at MD Anderson called to let me know that some of the results from my bone marrow aspiration were available.  I don't have cancer.  There's no molecular evidence of leukemia.  In blood cancer speak: no minimal residual disease.

The flow cytometry is still pending and results won't be in for some time.  The PA reassured me that my transplant doctor wasn't concerned since my numbers were all so normal.  Normal.

I suppose you can guess how I feel about 713 these days since it is now Wednesday and I've been sitting on these results since Monday afternoon.  No anxiety and no accelerated heartbeat.  713 now means business as usual or a friend on the other end of the line.

11 comments:

joanne firth said...

Yay! Congratulations and thank you for sharing this magnificent news. You are an amazing fighter Ann, I haven't had the pleasure of knowing you too long, but I'm so grateful that I do now. Bask in this great news and enjoy the peace it brings to you. Those numbers are just numbers now. xoxo

Becky Sain said...

Well that's just freaking amazing! Woot!!

Beth S said...

Fantastic news!! So wonderful to hear. :-)

lisa adams said...

I love the news, thank you.

And that really is true about the numbers. Thanks for making me think about them and the role caller ID now plays in my emotional responses...

Nancy said...

Awesome update Ann I love your spin on reality. I realize how amazingly right you are about the numbers on the phone screen. Twice I got that call saying that the donor was "no longer available." I used to cringe when I saw the CIty of Hope area code pop up. Like you, I no longer freak out! Yay! Thanks for helping me see the light.

Happy New Year 2012 to you and Chris. Wishing you great health, peace and continued recovery from all that ails.... love, n

Anonymous said...

713 is my favorite number today. If I were there, I would take you out for 713 tequila shots. Well maybe not but you understand the sentiment. -Caroline

PJ said...

Ms. Braveheart, I had no idea what you were talking about until I read the comments. I think that's because my doc and nurses at Dana-Farber emailed me instead of calling. Otherwise 617 would have been my fear factor.

Jody said...

What an incredible essay...the "snarling bete noir that is cancer..." ...all leading up to the stunner: I don't have cancer.

Oh. WOW. WOWOWOWOWO!

I'm thrilled for this news and everything it represents.

You're so awesome.

Love,
jody

LPC said...

Let's just hope that 713 provides you good news forever and ever.

rita nauman said...

oh so awesome!

LacubriousOne said...

Awesome, amazing, and wonderful...