I have dealt with cancer 3x in 3.5 years. Initial breast lump found on routine mammogram in Oct 2006; stage 1; lumpectompy + 5 days of mammosite radiation. Fast forward 2 years to back pain so bad that this mother of 3 who gave birth to 3 girls at home with no drugs (and one weighed 10 pounds 10 ounces!) was living on over-the-counter pain meds. Xray showed nothing. FINALLY an MRI showed a tumor in my very lower back that had fractured 2 vertebre (S1&S2)…I was called 2 hours after my imaging appt, so I knew it wasnt good news…stage IV cancer; 20% chance of surviving 10 years…22 rounds of radiation between Thanksgiving and Xmas; 4 rounds of chemo Jan-Mar 2009. Everyone says how fashionable I was bald! I wore scarves, hats, heavy makeup and also sported the bald head often….sometimes with temporary breast cancer tattoos on it!
Preventatively had my ovaries removed; daily Femara. April this year…more pain…another MRI…more metastasis. Put on a drug that the average survival time is 800 something days. Really? Maybe less than 1000 days to live? I think not…and if so…I’m fighting back hard! I joined a breast cancer Dragon Boat paddling team and URGE you all to look one up. We aggressively practice year round and I am strengthening my back doing this kind of exercise.
I work fulltime, walk unaided, and embracing life and enjoying my new son in law, new granddaughter, etc. Oh, and I sport my new ‘chemo curl’ haircut with pride…I earned these curls and am embracing them rather than fighting them. Ironically, in many ways I look better than I used to, even if statistically speaking I have ‘less time.’ No one really knows how much time we have; I have been given a chance to understand the need to appreciate what I do have; and I thank God and count my blessings and see that glass as half full rather than half empty.
Meanwhile, I see an oncologist monthly for Zometa (bone strengthening) infusions and Faslodex shots. Another scan in 6-8 weeks will determine how well this medicine is working, but I feel fantastic, pain has disappointed, and I work out to slay that beastly dragon that has tried to rage within me 3x! Take THAT you dreaded disease…I am not wasting any time am enjoying life while fighting you!
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.