Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mal's First Scan

I don't suffer often from insomnia. In fact, most days I can fall asleep sitting up, and have been known to sleep through several midnight disturbances and movie endings. But the night before Malorie's first scan to see if her body was clear of cancer, I laid awake for over four hours. I started in the bedroom, and tossed and turned enough to annoy Rachel (not to mention myself). I moved to the living room couch after I started coughing for no apparent reason. As I lay on the couch, my anxiety turned to panic, wondering what the results of the MRI would be. The panic turned to anger as I beat myself up for losing sleep over something I could not control. I counted sheep, I got myself a drink, I prayed, I talked to myself, and I worked on calming breathing techniques. Basically, I did everything but sleep. The last time I remember seeing on the clock was 3:20 a.m, and then eventually the exhaustion overwhelmed my worry and I passed out. Three hours later I was awake and pacing the floor, waiting for the time to wake Mal to take her to the hospital, where we learned that we would not get the results of her scan until 24 hours later.

As most of you already know, Mal's scans turned up as good as they possibly could have. There were no signs of new tumors on her brain or spine, and all of her blood cultures indicated there were no pending issues. Rachel and I had hoped for nothing less, as the last 6 weeks have brought our family back to a normal way of life. We have had no hospitals, no PICC lines, no blood draws, and no sickness for quite a while - but the worry of the pending scan hung like a storm cloud on the horizon. So, Thursday night was a good one in the Klug home, as the forecast showed that the first storm had finally passed.

Saturday night was our first opportunity to celebrate the good news with friends and family at the Mal-o-Rally Silent Auction and Trivia Night event we threw to raise money for charity. The night was filled with great times and crazy stories, but more than that it was our chance to say "thanks" to everyone for their support over the past months. Rachel and I worked hard to ensure everyone had a good time, and one of the ways we did that was by creating a movie to announce the positive results of Mal's scan. It was our way to introduce the Klug family to anyone in attendance who did not know our story, and also a means to let the crowd know en mass that Mal was officially cancer free. At the event, the movie was in high definition and on the big screen, but I have reduced the resolution and uploaded to You Tube for anyone who could not make the trivia night or wanted to see it again. Here is the link if you would like to watch. At home, you must create your own roar of applause when the results of Mal's scans appear on the screen. (as a note, the ten second pause at the beginning is on purpose... please be patient)

The night was a terrific success as far as the fund raising went as well, with us raising over $15,000 for Friends of Kids with Cancer. My employer has a fund matching program that goes up to $6,000, so we expect to give roughly $21,000 to the charity as a result of the night. Of course, the night would not have been possible without the hard work and time that was dedicated to the event by Jenna, Karl, Jess, Jeff, Chris, Rob, Bob, Judy, Pastor & Mrs. Z, Elliott and several others who helped us pull it all off. Our gratitude is beyond measure and everlasting.

Mal's next scan will be in three months, which to us seems like a very long time. And I am sure that eventually the storm clouds of a pending scan will appear on the horizon, too far to worry at first but growing more and more menacing by the day. My hopes are that each passing scan will bring us more and more assurance that Mal has beaten cancer. That, or at least that with each passing scan I learn to be better about falling asleep. Either way, tonight I know I will sleep well, and for now, that is plenty good for me.