Today is February 9, 2014.
When the surgeon came in the next morning, he explained to me what had happened. He was finished working on the tumor which had wrapped around the iliac vein, and was ready to tackle the part of the tumor which had wrapped around the iliac artery. When he touched the scalpel to the artery wall, it exploded. He continued on, telling me if not for the quick response from his partner, I would've bled out on the table. He said that I lost 1250 cc's of blood.
According to Melanoma protocols, the standard procedures for cancer diagnostic scans, and follow up, the first 24 months following an occurrence, or recurrence, the patient is observed closely every 3 months. If the patient reaches the 25-60 month mark, they are observed once every 6 months. Once they hit the five year mark, they are observed annually out to the 10th year.
If they reach the ten year mark, two things occur.
1- if there is no recurrence, aka "NED (no evidence of disease)", they are considered cured.
2- the time between appointments for ongoing is decreased to once every 5 years.
As of this point, I am cancer free.
I am acutely aware of the precarious and uncertain nature of this disease.
I cannot tell you how many friends and family members, and acquaintances have lived for only days, to months, to even a few years with their cancer, gone into remission, and had their cancer return with a vengeance, killing them swiftly.
All that aside..... according to Medical science, I am now considered "cured", and will now only see my oncologist every 5 years, probably get PET scans, or at least blood tests.
I am presently about as ecstatic as I can be, because while my life is still in a precarious state-- the intensity is feeling lifted. I suppose the title of the movie-- Waiting to Exhale-- applies here as an expression of how I've felt. I.e., I can exhale now.