Then in December 1997, they found micro-calcifications on the same breast which had the tumor. I had a mastectomy and discovered in January 1998 that there was a metastases to my bones.
I often say that I had the word "remission" because that gives the uninitiated the concept that maybe you're cured. It just means that there is no discernible disease. Once you are diagnosed with mets, you're stage IV and no matter how "good" you look and how your blood tests come back...it is considered a chronic disease and it can re-appear quite some time later.
Like 14 years later. Like me. My numbers are up and I'm hoping that the current Tamoxifen treatment will work. I really have trouble thinking about going back on chemo...I'm still struggling with the nerve damage I got from this last course of treatment which lasted 9 months. I'll probably never run again. Heck, I'd take that if I could have more time. I'd like to see Meg graduate...I'd love the thought of seeing her married....or started on her adult life. While others are looking forward to playing with grandchildren, I'm just hoping to make it that far.
Its an odd thing. Currently, there's a trial being offered for people who have metatastic breast cancer at the Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island. They are testing to see if modifying T-cells (the cells in your immune system which fight the baddies like cancer) and modifying T-Cells and using Interleuken-2 with it will work. I'm tempted. I'm really tempted. But I'm also afraid. I don't know if trying to pursue other treatments would work. I'm not sure about traveling from Ohio to Providence, even though it is within 2 hours from where I used to live and I'm sure I could do it. What if it didn't work???? They talk about biopsying your tumor...well...it's in my bones...I suppose they could go after a biopsy on my shoulder, and maybe the sternum...but the others, the ribs and the vertebrae, well, they're a little tricky...and I'm not really sure how easy it will be to get to the spot on my pelvis...
Sitting and waiting in never-never-land....the word "remission" and "chronic" is beginning to sound better...at least you're still alive.
I regret that most of my married life, my poor husband has had to live with someone fighting cancer. I am saddened by the fact that my daughter doesn't remember a healthy mother...one who ran...and hiked and did a lot of really physical things. I'm even more saddened by the fact that she has to be afraid that she's going to get cancer...or that I'm going to die while she's in college.
But I'm alive. I will continue to fight. I hope you will too.
What is the Army of Women?
A program of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, the Army of Women initiative is dedicated to recruiting one million women of all ages, ethnicities, with or without breast cancer, to sign up and participate in innovative breast cancer research studies. After signing up at www.armyofwomen.org, members are then contacted via email blast about new studies seeking volunteers. They can either sign-up for the studies online, or if they do not qualify, they are encouraged to forward the information to a friend or family member. Every woman over 18 is welcome to participate, whether a breast cancer survivor or someone never affected. There are currently more than 20 breast cancer studies seeking volunteers through the Army of Women. The full list of open studies seeking volunteers like you are listed at:www.armyofwomen.org/current.
For more information, visit www.armyofwomen.org.