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Good news, everyone!

There's a strong chance we can altogether avoid that big scary second surgery! That's the summary of my doctor's visit in Philly yesterday. I'll go back to see the oncologist guy on August 4 (though they're trying to move it up in case I do need the surgery for various harmless reasons).

There's debate about the RPLND surgery as despite its complexity and seriousness, it often turns out to be unnecessary is as many as 75 to 80% of cases. In fact, most European doctors opt for chemo instead. The general alternative is observation and surveilance; the bloodwork and cat scans I'd have to do, like, monthly for some number of years. The big worry if chemo is involved at any point instead of surgery is the possibility of chemo-resistant tumors showing up later on, necessitating that RPLND surgery afterall.

Apparently this is the better option for me. The results of bloodwork and CAT scan show pretty much zero indication of even microtumors or anything in my lymph nodes or stuff. So it's likely I'd have ended up in that 75% of people with a huge scar that actually didn't need surgery afterall if we went ahead with it.

Anyway, this oncologist I'll be seeing is one of the very best there is. His team has developed non-surgical methods for dealing with my kind of case, so I'm eager to speak with him in August (or whenever).


The important thing though: Vanity. I worry enough about having too much of a belly without getting self-conscious about a big ass scar, too. We're talking stem to stern--all the way down my tummy, it'd've been. Yikes.

Additionally, this means I can return to work. Hallelujah. Like, I did not really want to live off an allowance from my parents for the next three months. I still hope they'll help me with rent as I settle back into my job and figure out how to balance work and school in the coming months, but a spending allowance? From my parents?! What, am I 17?? Obviously, it's not that bad a thing; if I had gotten this big ass surgery it would have actually been a reasonable next step as I'd have been out of work for pretty much forever and a half. But still.

I'll be honest, though: I'm a bit let down by this news. I'm not sure why. Perhaps I'd built myself up and braced myself for this surgery and keeping a brave face crap, so that having to backpedal to normalcy seems wasteful or ignoble. Maybe I had even acquired a bit of Munchausen syndrome, begun to relish the attention and sympathy. God, I hope not. Maybe I'd started looking forward to having little to know obligations and commitments for a few months longer--no work or anything cutting up my free time. Hm, that also sounds kind of pathetic.

Well, ultimately, I am glad about this news. I think my best bet is subverting those negative feelings by focusing on the positive aspects in a reasonable manner. Despite liking to loaf and be lazy, I do enjoy work--and money--a whole helluva lot. Despite maybe liking the attention, I'd rather earn it through hard work and success than as a sick consequence of disease. And despite having to put my 'brave face' back in storage for a while, I think I've learned something through all of this about showing up for life and valuing every moment I have as something of a gift.

So now I have to go forward and be responsible. The worrier in me expects me to 'forget' about these checkup appointments I'll have to do, it expects me to take them for granted and prioritize other things first. But I think if I try to keep myself focused and make these check ups a priority from the start--putting them straight into my calendar and asking off for work as necessary right away--I can manage to keep on top of them. And then, of course, being willing to take responsibility when or if I do fuck up.

It's an aspect of humility I've become very familiar with in the past months: I am as human, as mortal, as anyone else. I'm neither more nor less special; neither any more or less a bundle of soft squishy organs sloshing around in a sack of flesh and bone. I am as susceptible to illness and being wrong and messing up as anyone else. And I have to take responsibility in my life just as much as anyone else in making every minute of it count

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