My CT was on August 30th but I needed to wait till today to get the results—from a new medical oncologist. He’s my kind of guy achieving undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering before going to med school. We talked a bit on how things have improved since the dark ages of my diagnosis. I told him of my rabid scanziety driven by a 12-day dwell from test to results. He told me I’d not receive the same treatment if I was diagnosed today. I told him I was happy I was not being diagnosed today, or was I?
I find inspiration when encountering stirring words while reading. An article about Joshua Chamberlain, a professor of languages and rhetoric at Maine’s Bowdoin College, told of his exploits as the country slipped into the Civil War. Chamberlain knew nothing about soldiering when Maine stood up its first regiment and declined the governor’s offer to command claiming insufficiency. But, he joined the cause as a lower ranking officer to learn how to soldier. He learned well. His leadership and commandership at the battle at Little Round Top during the second day of Gettysburg is still studied by current-day Army officers. For his courage, skill and character in that battle, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
On dedicating a memorial to Maine soldiers at Gettysburg, 25 years after the battle, Chamberlain asserted “it is character that tells.” Similarly, the tell in surviving lung cancer is character.
Chamberlain said: “What I mean by character is a firm and seasoned substance of soul. I mean such qualities or acquirements as intelligence, thoughtfulness, conscientiousness, right-mindedness, patience, fortitude, long-suffering and unconquerable resolve.”
A “firm and seasoned substance of the soul” that results in “unconquerable resolve” to survive. That essence is built day-by-day as we endure treatments, sometimes cycles of treatment, sometimes cycles-upon-cycles all with uncertain outcome.
What was my scan outcome, you ask? All the typical magic nodules waxing and waning from scan-to-scan showed up. He laughed about me charting their location by spreadsheet. And we had the hypo-dense vs. hyper-dense liver lesion discussion, and a remark about that kidney stone that has been hanging around for 10 years. Then he told me he was reducing my oncology appointments to 1 time-per-year and changing up my scan to a low-dose CT chest type without contrast. He said that interval and type of scan is fully appropriate for one cured of lung cancer. I guess scanziety builds character!
Stay the course.