"No evidence of metastatic disease."
Those are the words I was looking for.
I've had a bit of a scare going over the past couple of weeks.
My basic complaint to my internist was, "I've completely fallen apart." Among the details: intense lower back pain accompanied by a host of other symptoms which have made both movement and sleep difficult.
She decided to order an MRI designed to detect the spinal problems that might be the source of my problems, but in doing so she also raised the alarming specter of breast cancer metastasis to the bone.
Not possible, I thought. My cancer was by definition physically confined and there was never even the most minute evidence of its having spread. But I did some reading and realized that an infinitesimal possibility for disaster did exist.
I thought about it very little, but the pressure was lodged somewhere in the folds of my brain: the recognition that life as I know it could end yet again, that major treatment decisions might be required, and that my prospects might be dim indeed.
I think the report was lost; the results were dictated the day after the MRI, but no summary appeared online until three days after I called a week later. (I have yet to speak to my doctor.) I was beginning to imagine that my cause of death might be Misplaced Medical Records.
At any rate, buried in a host of technical diagnostic terms that I eventually had to look up, the phrase I sought materialized. I do have some spinal stuff going on that must be addressed if I intend to make a Camino or Mountains-to-Sea walk one day, but that's a minor complaint in light of what night have been.