I felt a bit of a dope this week when, after reading last week’s column, "Whew!", multiple friends called to inquire specifically as to the "Tony-the-Tiger Great" news I wrote that I received from my oncologist, and I couldn’t answer them in any detail: shrinkage, less fluid, "partial stable remission"? Nothing. And though I tried to get my oncologist to explain to me exactly what was so encouraging about this most recent CT Scan – compared to the one I took three months ago (as opposed to the one I had nine months ago which was mistakenly compared to this most recent scan and resulted in the "Some better, some worse. I’ll explain more on Friday" e-mail I received from my doctor and talked about in "Whew!") – I was rebuffed. Rebuffed in the best possible way: being told instead how great I was doing, how great my lab results were (for this most recent pre-chemotherapy) and how I could live a long time like this (presumably continuing to be infused with Alimta) – it was almost disconcerting; especially when you consider the original e-mail assessment we received and our less-than-positive interpretation of it. Moreover, the oncologist’s exuberance and smiling countenance, along with his offer of a congratulatory handshake led me away from the missing facts and immediately into these new-found feelings.
There’s and old advisory among salespeople: "Don’t be afraid to take a ‘Yes.’" Well, I took a yes (figuratively speaking), and didn’t feel compelled to press my doctor to further explain the reasons for his excitement. I became very happy taking the good news, and extremely fortunate that what Tuesday’s inaccurate e-mail suggested: trouble, was turned completely on its figurative ear Friday when in person, my oncologist explained the semi-miscommunication. Believe me, when your oncologist gives you news with which you can live – pun intended, your reaction, at least mine, is not to question his judgment too much further in pursuit of some heretofore untold truth that could ruin what super-amazing-positive words you just heard. Call me naïve, "Simple Simon," whatever, but since I am still alive five years post-diagnosis, you can call me anything you want.
A week later, a few of these phone calls have given me pause for reflection. And though I’ve tried to answer their queries in a sort of intelligent way, I’m sure I’ve failed. But I’m moving on. I will enjoy relative peace over the three-month interval until my next CT Scan on May 28th and follow-up appointment with my oncologist to discuss the results – in person. Then, we’ll do this all over again. For the time being, I’m very lucky to have received such good news, however incomplete it originally may have seemed. Nevertheless, I can certainly appreciate the message even if I was confused by the delivery.