Three times in the clear

October 29, 2016

Leanne Gledhill with her daughters Amy, Brilee and Jessica.

It’s been a long time since my last blog post, and although partly due to travel and work there’s another, even better reason for this.

Since her diagnosis and surgery, Amy has had three MRI scans – all indicating no sign of cancer growth.

That’s right. Three times. All clear.

Her scans will be reduced from six-monthly to yearly following her next test in February 2017, her medication has decreased and her hair has regrown dramatically – even longer than mine as I’m constantly reminded.

We’d developed a routine over time for the scans.

The reminder would come in the mail about the impending date for the MRI at St Vincent’s Hospital, following which Amy and our mother would organise travel plans and time off work.

It was always an anxious time for our entire household, with everyone finding ways to keep themselves busy as we wait for the scans and results.

Mum fusses over little jobs around the house to keep her mind off things, Amy throws herself into gym sessions, CrossFit classes and work, Dad finds anything which may or may not need fixing and tinkers away, and I find myself spending most the time making sure everyone else is fine.

And then Mum and Amy leave for Melbourne, the scan is completed after hours of waiting and preparation, the results come the next day at a follow-up appointment, and they come home.

Even though Amy insists she can do the journey by herself, Mum is always there regardless to hear the news firsthand instead of waiting in worry at home.

While Amy is in command of the driving wheel – good luck trying to get her out of it – Mum does the rounds with the phone.

She starts at Dad, who’s secretly been more nervous than the rest of us, and they can both find comfort in knowing that for a while longer their daughter is out of danger.

She then moves on to us kids, making her way down the list until the first of us answers the call.

It’s always a strange feeling after speaking with Mum.

You’re eager to know how it all went while at the same time thinking there’s no other option than for the result to be all clear.

But there’s still a sense of relief when I know for sure and can finally let go of the breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding throughout the day.

It’s only a small fraction of relief though until the next scan date comes around.

Because what if the following time it isn’t all clear.

What if the specialist delivers the news that the tumour has in fact returned and it’s no longer a matter of waiting for the next results?

No one is more aware of the shattering prospect than Amy; the only exception her parents, with the thought constantly in the back of their minds as well.

But if the day does come, we’ll handle it like we did the first time round – together as a family.

Until then, I’m pleased to say Amy is fit, healthy and happy, something I couldn’t be more proud of. 

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