As has so often been the case lately, whatever results we expected to get from Kathy's bone marrow biopsy turned out to be something else. We think. Sort of.
As you may recall, the point of the agonizingly slow test was to see if all the cancer cells were gone from Kathy's marrow ("You may be a winner!") or whether they were still there in significant number ("We've got lovely parting gifts for you.")
After days of being told "today's the day" to get results, it actually happened today (Friday). "If we look at your sample through the microscope," said the doctor, "we can find no visible cancer." Hooray, right?! "But..."
"But when we use sensitive genetic tests we can tell there's still a little bit in there. For now we will let your blood cells begin to grow again. If the good white cells come back strongly, then we will continue treatment. If the bad cells come back then we will need to have A Discussion."
Additionally, to be considered for a stem cell transplant Kathy will have to achieve remission (ZERO cancer) and stay in remission for at least two months. So all in all, the long-awaited test results only told us that there's a lot more waiting and uncertainty that has to happen here at the hospital before we know anything at all.
The news hit us pretty hard; we were already exhausted AND keyed-up. "More of this" wasn't what we most hoped for but it clearly beats at least one other alternative. So we're taking deep breaths and continuing the fight.
Despite being weak, Kathy outdid herself with physical exercise today (what she accomplished wouldn't sound impressive unless you knew what she's coming back from). Solid food? Oh yeah - take THAT cottage cheese and tropical fruit cup! The woman is a superhero.
Still, motivation can be hard to come by and a little unequivocally good news would go a long way for us about now. Personally, tonight I'll be praying that a conversation tomorrow begins: "Good news! We totally misread those finicky genetic tests!"
"One bite at a time," agreed Kathy.
"Uh, pardon me," said the least necessary man in the room (me). "But that's not how an elephant eats an apple! An elephant eats the whole thing at once! He pops it in, takes one crunch and it's done. An elephant couldn't take a bite out of an apple if he wanted to!"
"I never thought about that," admitted the nurse. "I've been using that saying for years! When my stepdaughter became a nurse, I taught HER that elephants eat apples one bite at a time."
"Well they don't."
And such is the manner in which I spread enlightenment and joy to others. Whether they want it or not.