Today, our family was together to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of good friends, a young woman who we've known since she was an infant. She looked absolutely gorgeous today, and we all had a wonderful time looking towards a bright future for J and M.
But throughout the celebration, there was the hint of gathering clouds in my personal and family horizon. The threat of recurrence of cancer is something that I take very seriously, knowing full well that advanced colorectal cancer is very dangerous, even when the treatment initially resulted in no evidence of disease.
Now, there is evidence of disease. My CEA levels have more than doubled in less than five months and are well into the abnormal range. The cancer centre has scheduled an appointment with an oncologist to review my CT scan with me, and my family physician is scheduling another colonoscopy.
All of a sudden, coping with the side effects of my last set of treatments has become secondary to the prospect of metastases. If the recurrence is in the bowel, then perhaps we have a good shot at eradicating it. If it is in the liver or lungs or abdominal cavity...well, I'd rather not think about that too much. Yes, there are potential treatments for metastases to some distant organs, but none of them is attractive.
Until we know where the road ahead will lead, I can distract myself and make sure I'm doing now what I really want to do in my life, but the storm clouds still demand attention and preparation. If I could arrange for sunny weather, I'd do so, but it may be time to get out the umbrella.