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Friday, July 23, 2021

15 years on...

I am in the region of adenoid cystic carcinoma survival stats that I never thought I would - 15 years since original diagnosis and treatment. I also never thought I would be doing it during a pandemic, proving I can't foretell the future. According to anniversary sites, the 15th anniversary is crystal. As a lover of shiny things, I have purchased crystal drops and strong suction cups to hand out to friends and co-workers so they can have shiny plus rainbows in their spaces. I haven't connected the gifts to my anniversary - I don't want to alert the ACC that is lurking. 

At 15 years, I don't have any new effects, still dealing with long-term radiation side-effects, neuropathy, headache, head's sensitivity to cold (skull insulates, after all, so my missing section is noticed). With COVID-19 taking up hospital and clinic attention, I have not gone in for any scans since 2019 (this also means I haven't had any effects to lead me to get scans.) I would say I have been happy for the lack of scan-dancing and test result anticipating, but that COVID-19 thing has filled every stress gap left by the lack of cancer scans. 

The rest of my life: continue to teach future health professionals best methods to use when seeking information, promoted to professor on July 1, grandson nearly 1-year-old now, husband mending well after a bit of surgery of his own, grown children on their own, and living their own lives, made one post-vaccination trip to see my mom and planning one more before Delta or other variants overtake our surroundings. I have managed to stay in touch with friends during the distancing portion of the pandemic; now that we are heading into Delta territory, it looks like the distancing will continue. I am truly grateful for all my friends and family. Their support has made my survival a rich life, not merely surviving.

We said goodbye this spring to another ACC wearer, Pat Shannon: I had become friends with Pat on Twitter during his cross-country motorcycle trip. I appreciate how he faced ACC on his terms and will keep his model close by as I move forward on my path. Pat did more than live a life - he inspired others to keep an adventurous spirit even when dealing with cancer limitations.  

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