Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My son

This is not my planned post. I had another one already written and ready to post. God has a funny way of snapping us upright, letting us know that we are not the real planners of our lives. Things happen beyond our control. I had not planned to spend ten months of life in a battle with cancer. I didn’t plan to lose my right breast and my hair. I had not planned for major radiation burns on the upper right quadrant of my body. But it happened.

My son is worried about me. I guess he has a right to be in such a state. I can see the worry in his eyes.

His best friend’s mother also had breast cancer. She has the mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, just like me. She was on the pills to keep the estrogen level down, just like me.

The only difference on the surface is that she reached her five years on the pill, stopped and now she has recurrence. From what my daughter in law says, she has cancer in the other breast, liver, lung and heart.

I would like to think she didn’t take care of herself. I would like to think she didn’t follow up on appointments. I would like to think her doctor didn’t do everything possible here. I would like to think they never measured the enzyme levels or performed CAT scans after the initial ones.

B is so worried. He is just sure that five years from now I’ll quit taking my pill and have the cancer take me over. That thought is surely in my head also.

So I try to put on the brave front. I tell him I’ll be 67 then. I will have lived a long life. I tell him that I believe K H had been taking Tamoxfen, and I am taking Femara. There are fewer cancers associated with Femara. I hope that is the case, and I won’t be facing recurrences of cancer.

I told him that cancer is an chronic condition that I will just have to keep fighting. He is scared by that. He doesn’t say anything to that statement, but I can see his face.

At first, I was sure that I had beaten this thing. Even though it was a Stage 2, I was sure that I had beaten it. After chemo, I would have placed bets on it. Then during radiation, my resolve began to weaken.

Just a couple of days ago I was reading a cancer magazine for women in the oncologist’s office. It had a story about women’s basketball coaches. One was free of cancer for seventeen years. SEVENTEEN YEARS! It recurred.

Why would I have any better luck. KH is apparently doing nothing about her recurrence right now with the exception of a homeopathic treatment - she is drinking peroxide in her water to "reduce her acid levels." She is doing no chemo, no radiation. Nothing. She doesn’t want anyone to know about her situation. With her initial onset, she lost her job, and she doesn’t want that to happen again.

If she has the resources, she needs to use them. She will be a first time grandmother in March. She owes it to that baby to try to live.

On the other hand, perhaps the cancer is so wide spread it cannot be treated. Perhaps the peroxide is the only treatment she has. I watched the show "Crazy, Sexy Cancer. She had no real treatment options. She had to resort to the macrobiotic diet. It seemed to work. I guess that’s where KH is now. She may be in the situation where the treatment to kill the cancer would kill the patient.

I cannot help but wonder where I will be in five years. I wonder what I will be doing to survive at that time.

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