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Chemo Round 47, That Lymph Node, and New York City

Actually, the title of this blog post is in reverse order. I’ll start with New York.

I flew back home to L.A. the day after my appearance on the Today Show, and I had a whole two days at home before I packed my stuff up again and headed back to The Big Apple. Since last week was an off-chemo week, making the trip was a breeze and I had a blast. I did a media event (and spoke alongside Deepak Chopra which was an incredible experience), ate some delicious vegan food, and even scored a new pair of kicks while I was in the city (for you sneakerheads out there, I strongly recommend Flight Club in NYC). The weather started out a bit unfriendly – I grimaced through a sleet storm the first night I was there – but ended beautifully. As usual, New York City was magical and lovely.

I hightailed it back home by Wednesday night because I had a CT scan on Thursday morning. This would be an all-important scan because it would reveal whether the radiation I did in January on that rogue lymph node in my chest actually worked. A pretty big deal, but I remained calm. I understand how other cancer warriors get “scanxiety,” that super anxious feeling when you’re about to get a scan or waiting on results. But here’s the thing about “scanxiety”: it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t make the scan results better or worse. All it really achieves is freaking people out. So I refuse to countenance scanxiety. The moment my mind wanders to “wow – I wonder what the scan says,” I remind myself that I’m in control. If I went by what scans said, I’d be six feet under by now. So forget the scans. I listen to what Dr. Lenz tells me, I do everything I can to make myself as formidable a foe against cancer as possible, and I keep on rolling with my life and The Wunder Project.

I had a particularly powerful moment during the scan itself, as I was in the tube. I was chillin’ in there, wearing my Duke hat (of course) and waiting to take that mandated deep breath that I’d need to hold. A thought popped into my head, and it was a really reassuring one. The thought was simple and powerful.

“This scan does not determine your future. YOU DO.”

I don’t know where the thought came from, but I have to tip my hat to my Creator for even putting such a sentiment in my head. It felt great to listen to that thought and to believe it. And I do believe it.

The results were ready on Friday, but Dr. Lenz was in NYC (we just missed each other!) so we didn’t discuss it until Saturday, when I headed to USC Norris for the annual colon cancer patient reception (which went really well -- I spoke as did most of our Wunder Project team) followed by a chill session with Heinz in his office.

The results? Are you ready?

The lymph node shrunk. We blasted that fool. Radiation worked. And the disease in my belly remains stable. So all in all, a pretty great scan. It won’t change my course of treatment, so I’m still hanging with my bag o’ chemo every other week, but still. This was a success. That lymph node could have eroded a major vein in my chest and, if that would have happened, I could have bled to death. We needed this radiation to work to take me out of danger. And it did. The side effects of a scratchy throat and losing about 5 pounds (hey, not a bad side effect) were all worth it. And now I can help people who have questions about radiation since I went through ten rounds of it. A win/win for everyone!

Finally, Round 47 of chemo. It went great. No cameras followed us around this time, no meetings during infusion, so I got to really relax this time around. I spent the next two days in bed, watching TV and movies and eating and drinking. And now, Thursday morning, I’m back. Feeling very good and, as always, feeling very grateful.

And if this wasn’t enough news for you, I’ve got one more thing to share. That news crew that followed me around a couple of weeks ago was from CNN. CNN as in CNN! I’ve been excited for weeks over this awesomeness. The segment on me and The Wunder Project will air THIS WEEKEND on Sanjay Gupta’s show, “The Human Factor.” It'll come on at 4:30pm EST on Saturday and at 7:30pm EST on Sunday. CNN was also awesome enough to give us some web coverage, which will start in early April (I’ll let you know when). Check out the show this weekend and let me know what you think! The Wunder Project is definitely making moves.

Finally, I’m getting another tattoo today. But I’ll save that for another post.

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