A few months before my diagnosis of ovarian cancer John and I visited Santa Fe for a conference. Along with a red corn necklace and a bundle of sage I brought home a small carved bear that seemed to fit well in my pocket. After my diagnosis a friend sent me a card with a black bear on the cover and a message about my struggle with "the bear." I have since kept both bears close to remind me how cancer can lurk in the background, unseen and un-felt but still dangerous.
Then, in August, after my return from a wonderful family reunion and wedding, my Ca 125 tumor marker started to rise. It continues to do so despite normal CT scans. At my last appointment I heard that I officially have a recurrence of ovarian cancer, what is known as a chemical recurrence, but a recurrence none-the-less. The bear is back. Meanwhile I feel well, continue to work 4 days a week, enjoy bicycling and have no loss of energy. Hmmmm.
Now starts the wait for the development of symptoms or findings on CT scan that will indicate the need for more chemotherapy. There is no advantage to being treated with only a chemical recurrence. Every ache or pain is suspect now, every plan for the future tentative. But like everyone else, with or without cancer, I can only continue to live one day at a time.