A lot of people wonder about the term "remission" when it comes to cancer. It is often celebrated like it is equivalent to the word "cure", but the differences are really big. A cure is when there are no traces of cancer in your body at all and the disease will not come back. Remission is when the signs and symptoms of your cancer are reduced. Remission can be partial or complete. In a complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, but that does not mean you are cured.
My husband was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer in 2003. The good news was that his cancer was treatable, but we knew going into his battle that he would never hear the word "cured". That was a strange feeling, knowing that no matter what we did, he would have cancer for the rest of his life. In fact, at first, he was almost certainly going to end up dying of his cancer. It was pretty bad. Stage four, highly aggressive, completely incurable with more than 90% of his bone marrow being replaced by cancer. And although rare, his blood cancer spread to his bones causing the bones in his shoulders, ribs and hips to die.
Today marks the 19th anniversary of us hearing the word "remission" for the first time. Remission has been our reason to celebrate because we still haven't heard the word "cured". Remission is good. It isn't perfect. But it is good. It means I have had 19 extra years with my husband now and I fully expect to celebrate many more with him. One day, I hope we can say that follicular NHL is curable. There has been so much progress. Until that day comes, we will live our lives to the fullest and be grateful for what God has done. Cheers to remission, Bill Crews!