Is that it?

A.Frye
3 min readSep 13, 2022

Maybe, possibly…cautiously optimistic

A little over two weeks post surgery and yesterday I had my follow up with the surgeon and my oncologist. Every time I talk to a doc I learn a little more about what was going on in the middle of my chest. The surgeon was a bit taken aback, I think by how messy it was in there. He said they don’t often do surgery on folks who have had Proton Therapy to start and everything was just kind of “melty” in there. They had to work their way down millimeter by millimeter. The tumor was wrapped around a couple of important arteries and the nerve bundle that controls my diaphragm (let’s not think about what would have happened if that was damaged.)

They also took out a chunk of one of my lungs and two lymph nodes. No wonder my chest hurts.

Reading my post visit notes this morning was also the first time I’ve seen anything about staging. Masaoka Stage IV-a. This is only for the thymoma itself, not the specific cancer I had, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it written down somewhere. I was always too afraid to ask. IV-a is the fourth out of five stages, so I guess that’s not awesome.

But…

They are pretty sure they got it all, the lymph nodes were negative for all cancer and the tumor only had 1% active cancer cells. Presumably, before chemo and radiation the tumor was 100% active cancer cells. So I still have another month of T-Rex arms post sternotomy, but maybe, possibly, that’s it.

So what now?

Now we wait and watch. In six months I’ll have a CT scan and six months after that and six months after that. I don’t know if I will ever be free of the worry of it coming back or developing another form of cancer. I don’t know if my type of cancer puts me at a higher risk of other cancers, but I do know having my chest blasted with protons does (although the risk is lower than with traditional radiation.)

The last seven months have been a fucking whirlwind. I don’t think I’ve even processed being diagnosed with cancer, let alone not having cancer anymore. I honestly feel a little guilty. My journey so far has been so easy. Chemo didn’t make me very sick, I didn’t start losing my hair until I was done (and it’s still coming out some.) Radiation was exhausting and the burn was one of the worst things I’ve ever had done to me. But overall I made it through pretty unscathed. Surgery was not fun and I never, ever want to stay in the hospital again. I’m tired of sleeping on the couch and not being able to lift my arms over my head.

Now we are planning a vacation. An actual leave the house for more than a few hours vacation. I want to go lie on a beach somewhere warm. I hope no one minds that my surgery scar is crooked.

I want this (photo by the author)

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A.Frye

Part time erotica writer, full time estate saler, cancer haver. annefryewriter.com