Hi all! How’s it going? Hopefully well because I have lots to tell you so make sure you stick around until the very end. The first bit of news I have is a little old but still really amazing:
I AM CANCER FREE.
You did not misread the last sentence. That’s right, folks! Dana Qualy can no longer be pushed around by cancer and its sidekick, chemotherapy. Mind you, I still have one more cycle of chemo to go, but that’s it! Then I’m done!!
Here’s why I still have more chemo:
Way back in November at the start of this little adventure, my oncologist told me I’d be receiving 4-6 cycles of treatment. After the third cycle, I would go get a PET scan and its results would determine exactly how many cycles of ABVD chemo I’d get.
Three months go by and it is now the beginning of February. Time for the scan. I have never been so nervous for a test in my life because I knew that if I were to “fail” this test (aka large masses were still present in my chest and neck), then the treatment would only get more aggressive. It was also more likely that the cancer would come back within five years and I’d live in the never-ending cycle of treatment and hospitals.
So I do the scan on a Thursday afternoon and wait four agonizing days to hear the news. The cancer was gone. Any large growths that were there three months ago are nowhere to be seen. However, because I had started with so many large growths in my neck and chest, it was decided that I was to continue with all six cycles of chemo and no radiation to make sure the cancer would stay gone. Between you and me, I’d take an extra cycle or two of chemo over radiation any day.
As cheesy as it sounds, that PET scan was the ticket to getting my life back. Before the scan, my family and I stopped any and all long term planning. There were no summer events, no birthdays, and no future. Sure there’s stuff we wanted to do and MAYBE we’d get around to it IF I was feeling okay, but as far we could tell, chemotherapy treatments and hospitals were the main source of our future. Possibly for life. But it wasn’t.
That PET scan proved that cancer wasn’t going to be my family’s future. My family got to start planning again. I got to start planning again.
I’m going back to school.
I’m going to get a job.
I’m going to celebrate every event and holiday.
I’m going to celebrate the people I love even more.
I’m going to celebrate my birthday.
Which leads me to my second topic: birthdays. I have one coming up in May and for once, I’m very excited about it. I decided to donate my birthday to the American Cancer Society and do a fundraiser. It’s called $2100 for 21 Years. You can read more about it in the link, but basically I want there to be more birthdays in the world and I want to do my part to make it happen. And in celebration of my birthday, I want to help more people.
Over the next month or so I’ll be sharing more about the fundraiser on My Bright Corner. If you can, please consider donating or sharing this fundraiser with anyone and everyone because everyone needs more birthdays with loved ones!
Until next time,