Reaching A New Milestone… One Year “Cancer Free”

It’s hard to believe this much time has passed, but as of today’s exam it’s been well over a year since I was first declared “cancer free”. As my lovely wife Kristine Sorensen and I sat in the waiting room at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Hillman Cancer Center, we discussed the fear and anxiety that comes with today’s testing. You have the concern in the back of your head… “what the cancer is back?” In the first year, there’s a greater chance of a recurrence.

Inside the CT scan at UPMC Hillman Cancer CenterSparkt/Patrick O’Connor

We arrived just after 1:30 p.m. for several tests and visits with my doctors. First stop was the imaging department for a fresh scan inside my body with a neck CT, then it was off to see Dr. David Clump, my radiation oncologist who has been with me every step of this journey. Here’s how the day went down:

So I’m back in three months for my next doctor’s appointment, but the news is amazing that I’m still cancer free. You heard it from the doc. I still have time in the recovery phase as things get back to whatever my new normal will be. Saliva will never be the same, taste won’t be the same, but it beats the alternative. I’m blessed to be eating and drinking and spending quality time with my family.

Dr. David Clump explains the test results to Kristine and me.Sparkt/Patrick O’Connor

These updates along my “journey” have definitely gotten less frequent, and that’s also a blessing. No news is truly good news as I move forward. I hope my experience helps someone else out there who is either going through the same thing or something similar. It’s scary stuff but, just know, there is hope and there is support.

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