Sunday, November 28, 2010

Glow Girl, My Best One Yet

My blond brain is making the shift, absorbing I really am getting close to finishing my cancer treatment.  I remember when I was first diagnosed, and The Good Witch said I'd need five months of chemo.  Gulp.  I couldn't comprehend that.  What are you talking about Lady?  Five months?  Are you kidding me?  I always thought chemo was something you did for a few weeks, made you sick and your hair falls out.  And then you bounce right back!

As difficult as going through chemo was, it's the uncertainty of the collateral damage that can really get to me sometimes.  It's anybody's best guess when my neuropathy will go away.

I remember when The Good Witch said between chemo, my surgery, radiation and reconstruction, I could pretty much count on cancer filling my calendar the next year of my life.  That was incomprehensible, how would I ever do that, and now look at me, 203 blog posts and seven months in.

During chemo, I never thought it would be over.  Especially that last month, when I stopped working and the effects of Taxol hit hard.  Even after chemo was over, it took my brain and body a few weeks to absorb that I really was done.  I did it.  I did it.

Shortly after my surgery and in the weeks to follow, I thought the pain would never let up, and how would I ever get through this too?  It took almost a month, but I am doing significantly better.

I am on the threshold of starting radiation, only a day or two left a radiation virgin and mild mannered Mother of two.  Ok, I concede the mild mannered part.  I don't have the same apprehension and anxiety about it as I did the other stages of treatment.

I've even imagined myself as a Superhero, Glow Girl, and I fly around the universe, all radioactive and menopausal and mad as hell my fat bunnies have been flattened like a panini.  My mission?  To save the world by seeking evil penises around the globe, and all I have to do is glare my glowing estrogen deficient kiss my grits laser glare at them, and the aforementioned evil penises fall off, a heap of nuclear dust.

I might occasionally have to use my laser on people who say stupid things to us breast cancer alumni like "Keep your chin up" or "My cousin had breast cancer.  She died."

Somebody should make a Cancer Vixen turned Glow Girl movie for all us brave Sisters of the Cancerous Breasts.

Midge's fiance, 6C, is a Disney animator.  Hey 6C, hey baby, will you work on that story board for me?

Wait a minute, I have to stop, I am killing myself here.  Let me just be Glow Girl a few minutes more, k?

I'm back.  I know radiation will have its challenges, but I've already leap frogged that worry so I can worry about AFTER treatment.  [Is frogged a word?]

All those months I felt as if I was in this protective bubble, and inside that little world, the primary focus has been moi and decimating the cancer in my body.  I've had such great care on so many levels, from my oncologist and surgeon to my chemo nurses and hospital nurses, and who could forget my Vonda or my Lab Lady.  Not to mention, ALL OF YOU!!!!!  It has recently occurred to me that this huge huge team will be setting me free soon.  It's scary.  All these months I've felt like one of those Verizon commercials, you know, where the person is on their Verizon phone, and like 200 people appear out of nowhere to support their service.

It won't be long before my elite team will go about their jobs helping other cancer people, and I'll be let loose back into the world again.  Without them.  As hard as treatment has been, it has been very comforting to have all this commotion around me, all this effort on my behalf.  Soon enough I will be out of the bubble, and have to face my new normal.

One of the recurring thoughts that troubles me is this.  If they don't know what caused my cancer in the first place, how will I keep it from coming back?  I've been thinking about this a lot.  I don't see The Good Witch or The Wizard until after radiation is complete, and I am already feeling a little lost without them guarding over me.

I didn't spend much time thinking about this for months now, I was too focused on completing my treatment.  Now that treatment is winding down, I find myself thinking about it more and more.  How did this happen?  I always thought I had a very strong immune system, rarely sick except when the kids were little, and we'd pass colds around this house like candy.  How did this happen?  How and why did this happen to me?  If I don't know the answer to that, how will I keep it from coming back?

I've been doing my radiation homework, and looking at some of the new studies on its long term affect on recurrence.  It's a good news, worrisome news thing.  I've read several times that radiation in the first two years after treatment, cuts the risk of recurrence up to 70%.  In years 2-10, that percentage starts to go down, and by the time you reach year 15 after treatment, the recurrence statistics are fairly even between those who received radiation and those who didn't.

http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20101101/radiation-cuts-risk-of-breast-cancer-return?ecd=wnl_brc_112310

Radiation seems to have the highest effect in the early years after treatment.  Long term?  Not so much.

I have so many questions for The Good Witch when we do meet in January.  We will be talking about treatments to completely shut down my hormones; if you remember, my cancer is hormone positive, meaning estrogen provides fuel for the growth of cancer cells.  Although chemo stopped my periods, I will still need to shut the factory down completely, and there are a few ways to do it.  Most of the time, drugs are prescribed.  In particular, a drug named Tamoxifen, and I'd have to be on it for five years.

I'm more than a little scared when I read the posts of my Sisters on the cancer message boards, who have nicknamed this drug "the devil pill."  Many have suffered very severe and exaggerated menopause symptoms, including insomnia, hot flashes, nausea, vomiting, extreme mood swings, muscle/joint pain and onset of arthritis.  This is one of those lesser of two evils things, h-m-m-m-m, let's see, Menopausal Mermaid from Hell or Back to Cancerland... Do you feel lucky punk?

I know we will also discuss how I will be monitored from here on out.  From what I understand I won't be having mammograms anymore.  Not sure how they will monitor me, but I guess I'll find out.

For the first time in all these months, I see the end of treatment in sight.  I'm going to do my best to celebrate that, and not spend a whole lot of time worrying about the next set of problems and decisions.  Not an easy task for an over thinking, let's get her done girl, like me.

When I felt my top starting to spin, I had a talk with self.  Self? I said.  Settle down.  This is what you need to focus on right now.

Complete radiation treatment.  Check.
Get this house ready for Christmas.  Check.
Move your body.  Check.
Enjoy the holidays.  Check.

New Year's Eve will sure have a whole nuther level to it this year, celebrating the completion of 8 months of cancer treatment, and kicking 2010's ass out the door.

Go on, get out of here, git, scram, hit the road Jack.

and don't you come back no more...

Cause if you do, Glow Girl will be waiting for you, with a big can chock full o' radioactive whoop ass.

2 comments:

masonmft said...

Soooooo...if I come to visit you and bring my man can I take him home with an intact penis. Please.
xoxoxo

writergirldreams said...

Nuttin to worry bout honey, I said evil ones.

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