Robert had scans at Sibley yesterday and got the results today - no evidence of disease! Notably for me, I had no scanxiety this time. I guess we've both come a long way since his melanoma diagnosis in May 2012.
Although I haven't written about scan anxiety in a couple of years, that doesn't mean it hasn't been nagging at me somewhere in the background - until this time. But even with the length of time between scans getting longer, I didn't lose any sleep this time and hardly seemed to notice. Instead, I caught myself wondering whether he really needed me to go to the hospital with him. It wasn't any measure of anxiety that made me keep quiet and just go - instead, it was the feeling he deserved some payback for all the times he's tended to me when I bled too much or precautions needed to be taken so I wouldn't. And I was pleasantly surprised by the speed with which Robert sent me the results; I hadn't even thought of looking online for them yet.
I'm not saying that I don't think about melanoma any more. It's still a nasty disease. Unless the experimental melanoma vaccine Robert had administered in 2012 is more of a wonder drug than the doctors have evidence for, his chance of metastasis isn't reduced just because his disease hasn't become active. Those little buggers could still be floating around in there, waiting for their chance.
Perhaps Robert's demeanor has rubbed off on me, even if just a little. I'm better able now than I was in the past to keep possibilities in their place and not treat them like eventualities, planning in my mind now to deal with them. His ability to focus on what he needs to be doing and not be distracted by worries about things beyond his control is admirable. He controls what he can - forgoing beach vacations despite his love of the seashore, making sure he's in the shade on the patio when we relax there at the end of the day, wearing his Blue Devils hat even when going into a crowd of Tar Heels or Terrapins fans to make sure his head is covered. He just hasn't got time or patience for worrying.
I don't worry a lot either - but that hasn't always kept me from preparing contingencies in the back of my mind for things that trouble me. About melanoma, however, I feel as though I have built a protective shield inside me that will kick in and keep me from going crazy if the news isn't as good after some future scans. I'm sure the progress in melanoma research has something to do with strengthening that shield. I'd like to think I've built some inner strength as well.
Let's hope we don't have to find out anytime soon.