It’s Over

“It’s over.” It’s hard to believe that I can say that. It’s over. Really…over. Done. My cancer is “so 2017. So last year.” I’ve had surgery and finished 30 radiation treatments. Now, I get to move on with my life. I get to say this due to a personal decision that I made in my cancer journey. My oncologist per the cancer protocols recommended I start endocrine therapy. Specifically, it’s recommended I begin a daily intake of Tamoxifen for the next 10 years. Because I had ERPR+ cancer this drug is supposed to attach to my hormone receptors and decrease the likelihood of my cells going all rogue again. That’s all fine and dandy but those who know me know how I feel about pharmaceuticals. I find it interesting but not in a funny way that the recommended length of treatment used to be 5 years and now it’s ten. Guess if people graduate from taking the med then the manufacturer loses a client. Can’t have that. Probably in 10 years they’ll recommend 15 years. Then, there’s the issue of the side effects. Early menopause. Swiss cheese bones. Increased risk of uterine cancer. Ummm…what are the benefits? Reduces my risk of reoccurrence by 50%. That sounds worth it, right? Well, you have to look at the actual numbers. With the treatment I’ve had, my chance of localized reoccurrence is 7% and chance of a fatal reoccurrence is 3%. Breast cancer has a tendency to come back all sneaky and be really, really nasty. Next time, I won’t be able to have less invasive surgery and radiation. With the Tamoxifen, I drop to 3.5% reoccurrence and 1.5% fatal. With all my numbers, I decided that the side effects and being beholden to a drug and having a DAILY reminder of my cancer just wasn’t worth the gains. It’s all preventative. It’s all based on what ifs. I told my oncologist that I understand I’m making a potentially fatal decision. But, I make a potentially fatal decision every time I get in my car.

I won’t be ruled by fear. If my cancer comes back I will deal with it then as I’ve dealt with it now. I can eat well, exercise, practice stress reduction, continue working with my naturopath, etc. I’ll have yearly MRIs and quarterly exams. I’ll do my monthly self-exams (or even find someone to help me with that, lol). I will not be a passive participant in the cancer industry.

So, on that note, this will be my last post. It’s over. Now I’m just healing. And ready to rock 2018. Thank you for all your support.

27 Down 3 to Go

Wow. The thought that I’ve had 27 radiation treatments with only 3 to go in a 30 treatment cycle amazes me. Looking back, I realize it wasn’t as bad as my wild imaginings led me to believe. I’m one of the lucky ones. I didn’t experience radiation sickness, my skin didn’t break down to the point of gaping wounds or anything else as hideous due to the fact that I just spent 15 minutes a day, five days a week for five and half weeks having radioactive rays shot into my breast. Again, I’m one of the lucky ones. I looked around the waiting room and realized that I was surrounded by mainly old, sick people. Every time I would walk through the door passed all the loved ones sitting waiting, I wondered if they thought I was one of the health care professionals. Then I would don my gown and sit among the sick relieving any doubt that I too was one of them. I didn’t feel like I belonged. I still don’t. I would finish my treatments and head to the gym for a weight workout, or go for a run or hike. I would head to work or home from work. Other than the time inconvenience I really have not allowed myself to be affected at all. Just a little speed bump in my life.

In fact, I am finding myself a little sad as I come to the end of this journey. I’ve grown quite fond of my team of techs. We’ve joked about socks and work and family and cancer. I’m going to miss them. I’m not used to being so vulnerable both physically and emotionally so the time I’ve spent with them has been intense and intimate. It seems weird to be going back into my super isolated, walled world. I don’t have a significant other to have shared this journey with. Nobody that I’ve shared my heart and soul with during the process. I’ve dealt with the good days and the bad days predominately on my own. Granted I have such wonderful friends and family but I keep to myself. It’s just how I am. So once again I have a scar to reflect on. A scar reminding me of a time that life tried to break me and failed.