Rejoice

#sixyears!

PRESUMABLY    STILL    ALIVE

 

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5 ALIVE

Quietly, on a gray winter day in late January, during politically charged times, alone in my home, sitting on a gray couch, I become a statistic.

I am alive 5 years past the date of a confirmed cancer diagnosis.

#5ALIVE

Grateful, uneasy, less anxious-still anxious, thinking about those who never made it this far, older, bolder, still-alive, still presumably cancer free.

Still. Here. Alive.

5 Years on….

On a gray winter day in January, I remember.

 

Probably Benign

Probably.

Benign.

Probably Benign.

The two ominous words left on the report of my most recent mammogram.

Probably  and Benign.

What is a one time cancer patient suppose to think to feel to react to those two words left on her mammogram report? Those words and a recommendation to return in 6 months instead of one year .

So for 6 months I have to pretend to be unconcerned with that. It is just a probability that it is benign but not a certainty. It is most likely not cancerous but not definitely not cancer. So just sit back and ya know keep calm because you most likely are fine but not really fine for sure. It is only 183 days to wait.

So I start to well kinda freak out. What if…. Why after 4 years….how the fuck am I going to do all that again. NO! I don’t want to do that again.

When I see the complete report it says that coarse calcifications were found near the site of the original tumor. For those whom do not know, calcifications are not actual cancer but when in particular, are microcalcifications (always found with DCIS) it tends to warrant a biopsy which in 20 percent of such cases, you hear the dreaded  words “you have cancer.” I was one of the 20 percent.

So when I see the word calcification, I am on edge.

Now it is also true that coarse calcifications typically are not seen with an associated cancerous tumor. So when I see the word coarse instead of micro, I feel a tiny bit better. But not a lot better, still scared, really scared.

i am taken aback by the doctors whom assume patients are mildly idiotic and passively compliant to just anything they say or don’t actually say. I like full disclosure , I want to really know, straightforward no sugar-coated explanation, give me the facts and only the facts. The good, the bad or the ugly.

I think  it is really a disservice for a doctor to just passively and without a good explanation tell you to just come back in 6 mos., thanks for stopping by. Does anyone just walk away from that and just put it behind them. Compassion-less , really.

So I query my breast surgeon asking him if he feels I need to do something further now, like an ultrasound ? MRI? Anything?  He tells me that the radiologist would not have just made me wait if they had felt it was bad, and that he recommends I just wait, but if I can’t wait, I could have a biopsy done now. (Ugh)

but still, probably benign .

i see my GP the next day. I tell her my concerns, she says that the radiologists tend to be conservative so don’t be too worried. I feel slightly better, but still I see the words probably benign and my mind still cannot rest.

i think about others who don’t wait 6 months, get a second opinion and are glad they did not wait because they find something bad. I think that in 6 mos. either way it couldn’t get much worse if it’s bad and if it isn’t bad then the biopsy would have been unnecessary.

So I change my mind constantly, analyze and over analyze . Research and research get more and more indecisive. I stop.

for now, I will trust my doctors and wait.

6 months.

184 days.

wait.

probably,

benign.

probably.

Blog.Life.

Clearly, I seldom blog anymore. Nor do I read the blogs I follow as often as I once did.

I suppose one might see that as healthy, and I suppose in some ways it is.

Four years ago today when I was given the dread news that indeed the calcifications

found on my tainted mammogram  were a prelude to a cancerous tumor.

( Cancer. Tumor. Cancer. C.a.n.c.e.r. God I hate that word. The look of it the sound of it and if it had a smell I’d probably hate that too. )

At that time, I did not feel the compulsion to blog.  I did feel the compulsion to seek out and devour blogs about breast cancer. Happy-be-positive blogs, snarky pissed off blogs, brutally honest blogs, sad blogs, sadder blogs , scary blogs, scarier blogs. Blogs written by fellow cancer planet dwellers past and present. Living and dying and a little of both.

Blogs written in all stages, grades, and sizes. In treatment, out of treatment, sometime refusing treatment. written by doctors and patients alike.

Since support groups are not my thing for many different reasons, breast cancer blogs were my only way to connect to others like me. I could find out about treatments, getting through it tips, what was it like for, the horrors for some, the ease for others getting through treatments or just getting through each day.

Should I lose one boob, both boobs or just part of one? Tell me please what was it like to lose all your hair and how long did it take to grow back and please show me pictures at one week, two weeks, 3 mos. and more. I need to know that I am not alone, that I can get through this because you got through this.

I could cry with you, laugh with you, totally disagree with you, feel an alliance with you. I do not think I would have fared as well had I not had my blogs to help get me through it. Yet although I think I will always check in on my favorite bloggers, I do not need you like I once did. And in actuality most of you seldom blog too. I guess we all need to move a long, stand on our own. And like a good friend, you will always be there when I need you and for all these things I am eternally grateful for blogs.

This  blog. My blog, is followed by very few, seen and read almost as seldom as I post.

Rarely liked or commented on, shared a few times on random unknown facebook pages. Tweeted twice. Read mostly in the states but in over 20 other countries too.

Have my posts connected to anyone else ? helped someone?

On this date, the fourth year marking the date that changed my life forever. Typing away on a computer, I can only think wow, how fast time goes and wow 4 years! which is two years longer than I thought I had left after I heard the bad news and wow for a triple negative like me, getting one year past the 3 year mark is very good thing, or at least  some say. And how have I changed or have I changed or should I have changed or do I need to change?  I am, one year from the glorified 5 year mark.

I will not quit this blog today. Or quit today.

And although I do not celebrate this dread date, it is a date of remembrance, the date that drew a line between then and now. A life, my life: beautiful, flawed, ugly, exquisite.

Four years on.

I am still here

 

 

 

15 RANDOM THINGIES ABOUT JUST ME

A lot of randomness occurring in the blog world , so I thought I’d join the bandwagon.

 

1. I am a contemplator and procrastinator

2. Ice cold water is my favorite beverage

3. I have little patience for bad drivers

4. I am saddened by the phone zombie generation.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book…the movie one of my faves of all time too.

6. I love to read young adult books (well some of them)

7. Cheese is my downfall

8. I am a member of the manners police and my children hate it.

9. I wish I was a rockstar

10. My cat weighs over 15 lbs

11. Gray days depress me

12. I am learning to play tennis

13. Teenagers stress me out ( I have two)

14. I garden

15. I love treasure hunting at thrift shops, yard sales etc.

In memory of Lisa

Awake no more . Lisa Bonchek Adams left us yesterday , March 6. 2015.

She was a beautiful woman, daughter, wife, mother, friend, voice of the metastatic breast cancer community.

An inspiration, really, to anyone.

I have no doubt she will continue to be an inspiration .

She will be remembered and missed.

I leave you with her words as she ended every post with this affirmation:

 

“Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere.”

 

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Not A Day of Celebration

The cancerversary, otherwise known as the date that marks the day you heard those dreadful words: “you have cancer.” The day life as you knew it ended.  There are other cancerversaries, the day of surgery, the day chemo began, the day chemo ended. The first date of radiation and finally the last day (after day after day after day after day after day…..of radiation. For some if us, that date is the last day of treatment, for others it might be another five years for others endlessly.

It was indeed a good day when treatment ended. Although it was also the day I became a member of the survivorship club . A term I am not really comfortable with. It is at first bewildering, I felt lost, alone, and having been a triple neg., quite frankly afraid….nothing left to keep this bitch from coming back other than me, god, and cruciferous vegetables…so to speak. It became quiet.

It is still a place where I don’t really know where I am. A nomad in a land I wish I wasn’t but I am glad I am. But it is easier now, carrying on, than it was then.

This cancerversary is not a day of celebration as it actually marks one of the very worst days of my life! I do understand that those of you who do not reside in cancerland….and truly I hope you never ever do…..think I am celebrating this day because, well, it has been 3 years, and gosh oh golly , I am alive! And although being alive 3 years after diagnosis is a gosh oh golly awesome thing! It is not the date I celebrate that fact. To me my restart in life was the day that evil thingy was removed because on that date I could presumably say I HAD cancer, not I HAVE cancer and that was a day truly celebratory.

And so yes, three years on. I am happy to be here but I cannot celebrate the day I heard the worst words of my life.