Redefining Cancer FREE

Tonight as I rocked Marjorie to sleep, I began to cry. A few tears at first and then full on uncontrollable sobbing. Emotions flew through me faster than I could identify them. Anger, relief, gratitude, sadness, grief, joy. It was too much.

I have been so focused on getting through the actual two day process of the scan, that the possible outcome of this scan hasn’t sunk in.

Cancer Free. We just might be able to say CANCER F-ING FREE when we get these results tomorrow. Maybe I haven’t let my heart go there because it would be too much if it weren’t true.

Tomorrow we might be able to close a chapter in this book and move forward to the next phase. Yes, there will still be scans and monthly appointments, but we would also get to say our daughter is cancer free. My child has NED “No Evidence of Disease”. But these appointments and life with two kids hasn’t allowed me time to think about the outcome. I don’t have the time to hypothesize about the future. I do my best to live in the present and put on clean underwear.

It is an unbearably frustrating position I am in. My emotions go from despair to laughter within minutes. Yesterday, Marjorie spiked a fever (it was a reaction from the nuclear injection). The fever caused concern and doctors questioned if we could do the scans. I left the hospital completely devastated and scared. What if they just injected my baby with poison for no reason?

No. Just no. I looked at our amazingly awesome nurse Jess and said, ‘We HAVE to do this tomorrow.” She agreed. Let’s be honest, she had to. I had that crazed Momma Gorilla look in my eyes. Jess gets it – she’s a momma too.

Marjorie and I left clinic and headed to our Jacksonville home (Derek and Lara’s house). I got lost twice on my way. I’ve made this drive a thousand times. I was so frazzled, desperate for someone to vent to, for someone to talk it out with. I needed to fix this. Fix the fever, fix the problem, fix the cancer. I am momma. Hear me roar.

The scans happened today. Marjorie was a rockstar, per usual. When she came out of anesthesia, we loaded up and headed back home. When we left the hospital, it hit me for the first time: we could be cancer free tomorrow. This insane and horrific whirlwind could be drawing to a close.

Cancer free does’t erase the memories of the past and it doesn’t eliminate us from worry in the future. But today I realized that it means the turning of a page. Cancer is now part of Marjorie’s journey and our family story. It doesn’t define us, but it is there. We own it, rock it, smash it and move forward.

But maybe tomorrow is not the day. Maybe the cancer still remains and we still need time. That is okay too. Honestly, I am at peace. While my heart will burst if we hear cancer free, if we don’t then it is just another scan another day. We move forward. We always move forward, albeit sometimes an exhausted army crawl forward – but forward nonetheless.

Amazon does not sell magic crystal balls so I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I do know what my heart aches and hope for. And I know that either way it does not change the fact that I am blessed with two absolutely phenomenal children, a family that loves me unconditionally and thousands of prayer warriors storming the heavens for my girl.

Whatever tomorrow brings, we move forward. Cancer free or not, we march on with gratitude. Cancer does not define us. We embrace and own any emotion that comes our way and we celebrate life because every day, every minute on this earth is worth celebrating with the ones you love.

Cheers to life.

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  • Reply
    Beth Dienes
    October 21, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    McCall…your wisdom, faith, and grace continue to amaze me. We will be praying, as usual, for your precious Marjorie.

  • Reply
    Jamie Borne
    October 21, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    I am praying for your baby. You have a way of always leaving me in awe, and putting life into perspective as I often need it to be put. Although, we have never met I feel an unbelievable connection to you- I too had a preemie who was 1 pound 11.5 ounces at 27 weeks. He is now 8 and is defying odds.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I have been following your journey via IG, and I want you to know how ADMIRED your strength, honesty & transparency is.

    Your sweet girl is s WARRIOR, you can see it in her eyes.

    Keep on keeping on!! Praying for amazing news today!!!!!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2015 at 10:44 am

    McCall, Although my perspective is different (and I believe the difference is huge because when I choose to put one foot in front of the other I am making my own path, whereas when you are watching a loved one do it, particularly a child, there is an added component of helplessness and lack of control)- I know exactly what you mean. It didn’t occur to me until two days ago that I am, in fact, cancer free. I was so focused on surgery, then my pneumothorax and chest tube, getting out of the hospital, and the myriad of the next steps that I never let myself feel the miracle of the CLEAR MARGIN. It is truly overwhelming. You have voiced it beautifully here. I am thinking of you and your family during this arduous journey that will, as you say, be part of your story. It’s part of my story, too. Much love, Meghan

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