-- noun --

a respite from impending punishment, as from execution of a sentence of death;
a warrant authorizing this;
any respite or temporary relief.

Today was the infamous follow-up appointment with Dr. Chen. Before I even asked, she offered to monitor the situation for now with scans on a three-month schedule, next one slightly delayed past Dec. 28 to Jan. 10th, so I can have a reprieve to enjoy the holidays free from the madness otherwise known as cancer.

She asked about the biopsy and I told her straight up how horribly the surgeon treated me. She was very dismayed. She said the surgeon's comments to me when I paged her over the weekend with that high fever were "inappropriate" and asked if I had called her office. I said, "No, you were gone, what was the point? My primary and I handled it via telephone."

She had the pathology slides sent to Stanford for verification and there was a slight adjustment to what Good Sam found, having to do with cell-type but it wasn't even an error I noticed. This just goes to show everyone I am not ACTUALLY a doctor, just a fairly educated patient, although lately, not so much. My reputation is resting on its laurels these days.

For those who care about the technical details, Good Sam classified me as grade 1 and historically I have been grade 2. This is different from staging which tells you how much cancer you have in your body. Grading refers to the behavior of the cancer cell. So when my doctor saw grade 1 on the path report, she thought that was odd and she was right. I am grade 2 as usual.

She did again introduce the dirty "T" word (I'll say it once and not again until I'm forced, transplant). She wants me to go talk to her best friend at Stanford who is in their transplant dept. I pretty much skirted the issue except to bring up the fact I know folks who have gotten them and are on life support after struggling with GVHD (graft vs. host disease). Sure the CANCER is gone but they can't BREATHE on their own anymore. Great. Sign me right up.

For all those suggesting alternative therapies, she greenlights acupuncture but hesitates on herbs. Fine by me, I can't stomach the herbs anyway. But I'm game to try acupuncture now.

That's it. For now, it's going to be out of sight, out of mind.
At least as far as I can help it.

Bring on the holiday season.