November 3, 2018
The past 6 weeks have been a whirlwind of diagnostic MRIs and CTs, surgery to remove one metastatic tumor from my brain and decide what to do with the second one. The hardest part of this is running into the Radiation Techs from my breast radiation at the other hospital where I was meeting the Radiation Oncologist who will be treating the second tumor. There are others, but these stood out to me for some reason.
I don’t want pity for where I am with this crappy disease. It’s not warranted. Yes, my cancer decided to take root in my brain and cause a bunch of issues. It was what really moved my cancer to Stage IV for me. I have a Franken-scar on the back of my head where 15 staples were used to put my head back together. BUT… this ain’t over til it’s over. I haven’t run out of options.
The really pitiful looks from those staff people hurt. Yes, I know the statistics. They’re awful. I’m trying to put them aside for now. I haven’t run out of treatment options yet. I’m only on my 2nd line of targeted chemos. There are others out there if the one I just started don’t work. Plus, there are new therapies and treatment options that are coming out regularly enough that I am not worried about this yet. I’m sure it won’t be horribly long before it does get more desperate. I also have options to maybe start a clinical trial at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), which is affiliated with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington. and I’m also still looking at the possibility of getting a second opinion from MD Anderson in Houston.
There will be plenty of time for pity when I get to the end of the treatment road and either nothing’s working, or it’s stopped working and I have no more options. I want to believe that’s at least 5-15 years out. Who knows what they will learn and bring to market that will work for me and give me that amount of time? Hopefully a better understanding of how the disease progresses that they can put a stop to it. Or maybe we’ll finally get to a point of individualized medicine and genetic therapies. I want to believe that I’ll live long enough for those things to happen and maybe work for me. I was told how we’ll treat any new metastases in my brain and I’m good with how that will work.
In the meantime… I’ve got a diagnosis. Neither I, nor any of my doctors, were given a crystal ball to tell me what’s next or how much longer I will have. Yes, the numbers suck, but they’re just that. Numbers. Statistics. Like cancer, they don’t fit all situations. This disease is really bringing home for me that dealing with this and the mental drain it brings is all about living life one day at a time. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m grateful for every day that I wake up to see the sun and hear the birds. I’m grateful for being able to work and do things I enjoy. This is what life is about right here. Being grateful for what I have and being able to enjoy life.