Monday, February 11, 2008

So - when do you start counting

Survivor. That's what I want to be. A survivor. No, not on some exotic island. I want to be a breast cancer survivor.

I am having all sorts of anniversaries now. December 23 was the anniversary of the suspicious mammogram. December 29 was the compression mammogram. January 16 was the biopsy. I was diagnosed on the 19. I had my lumpecomy February 8, and then the masectomy on the 22.

These are just the first of the anniversaries that will come this year. So since it has been a year, am I a survivor yet or do I have to wait 5 years? Will I really be a survivor then?

I really think that I am in the midst of a chronic disease. I don't think that really once you have cancer you are ever really a survivor. If there is no recurrance physically, there is in your mind.

One of my friends, neighbor in the hill country, and relative had colon cancer a few years ago. I think she is at the point of being considered a survivor. I don't think she believes it however.

I spoke with her a month or so ago. She was going for her check the following week. She commented that even though she is on a yearly recall, that seems like too long a time period. I really think she would be happier to be check at a more frequent interval.

I fully understood what she was saying. I go this week to see my radiation oncologist. At my last visit, when she told me things were well and I would be on a 4 month recall, I was thrilled. I wouldn't be seeing those folks so often. This has been such a long time. The appointment that seemed to be so close at the time has, in reality, been a long haul. Next week I see the regular oncologist, and he will check the blood markers. I really want to see those numbers.

Then my son's best friend's mother has had a major recurrance. She and I are not close by any means so I can't ask her, as if I would even think of doing it, how she cared for herself. The story I have is that she stopped taking her after breast cancer pill (I don't know which one she was on), and then they found the cancer everywhere.

Since she is not actively pursuing chemo or anything like that again, I do have to wonder what she did for herself after her five years. She is doing the holistic thing right now. That includes even drinking water with perioxide in it to change her pH.

So. When do you consider yourself to be a survivor?


LeeAnn said...

I've wondered the same thing. I think you are a survior until they discover that it has returned. I asked my doctor why I have to take the keep-away cancer pill for 5 years when the side effects are not pleasant for me (muscle aches, fatigue) and he informed me that the new thoughts on drugs is to take them longer. That shut me up! Feb 14 is my one year anniversary for starting anti-estrogen cancer pill. I already passed the one year mark for my lumpectomy Dec. 1 and have had two mammograms (I'm called in every 6 months) which were clear.

Here is to both of us staying healthy.

Grandma K said...

I was so glad to read your comment - especially about the anti-estrogen pill. I have been suffering with the muscle and joint pain, and my husband is wondering if I will ever not be tired again!

Yes - here's to us both staying healthy and being termed survivors.