Julie and I had a consult with my oncologist yesterday. I am officially no longer in treatment! I have been shifted to monitoring!
We went in preparing to discuss what the last bit of chemotherapy would look like. We came prepared to restart a short regimen of 5FU and Oxaliplatin (probably 3 months worth or 6 treatments, though only as much Oxaliplatin I could handle). But after discussing the results of our second opinion and her discussions with her fellow doctors, Dr. Andreason felt further chemo was not needed at this time, and I should be shifted to monitoring.
This is a major milestone that is both a huge relief — in their opinion, as far as medical science can determine, I am cancer free — and a bit worrisome — did we do enough, and will not doing any more chemo put me more at risk of cancer returning. Julie and I are both excited and anxious about this, but we are determined to not let anxiety interfere with moving forward.
What does monitoring mean? Approximately every three months I will have a full liver, abdomen, and pelvic scan. Every six months or year I will have a colonoscopy. This will continue for two or three years. At that point the scan frequency will halve, so only every six months, for the next two to three years. However, I must resign myself to an annual colonoscopy no matter what.
After approximately five years with no sign of cancer, I am considered cured. We would still be watchful, probably a scan every one or two years. Not sure, but we are looking forward to this milestone on our path to becoming cancer free.