PET Scan week... positron emission tomography ......injecting a little bit of radioactive tracer to look for the tumors. This is the third one since the Stage IV diagnosis. A great test; perfect for learning whether a chemo drug is working.
Insurance doesn't like you to have too many of the costly tests.
For them it's a financial bottom line and for us the ultimate bottom line.
How much for one more hour together, one more day, week or month?
Luckily our Doctor is persuasive because we can't afford delay. We want to know whether we are wasting time on a chemo that isn't working....Time is not our friend; not on our side. I know I'm scared...these tests have not been kind to Karen. The many weeks of recovery from the bone breaks and pneumonia have sapped her. I'm not sure what's in Karen's mind; I don't ask .
We sit quietly in the exam room and hold hands.
Dr. Levy comes in. He's almost always on time. I think a lot about time. He doesn't waste much as he delivers Good News.
The cancer that lit up the last PETscan at the beginning of December is less active...significantly.
Karen cries, awkward hugs around the wheelchair and oxygen ensue. We didn't realize how badly we needed some good news. It's not a cure, but it's a reprieve. It's more days not less days.
We stop at the mailbox and find a button in the mail from a college friend....a large red button and a picture of a box of buttons handed down through generations of her family. We see the red button laying there; peeking out under the lid.
Anne wrote us a lovely note speaking of the buttons, accumulating them and finding new homes.
I think back to Karen's dream. "I've got a solution; a blanket....a blanket with buttons. That should work; what do you think?
Dreams are wondrous places where time has no meaning.
Anne's Button Box, photo by William Evertson
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.