Sunday, October 25, 2015

I'm not Pink...I'm Brown

I have the cancer, but the cancer doesn't have me - and this cancer is not pink, these scars aren't pink - they are brown.

Being newly diagnosed with breast cancer in the month of October was a torturous experience. I would liken it to an electric fence that shocks you when you touch it.  But the fence is everywhere...and it's invisible... AND it can sneak up on you at any time. 

Breast Cancer Awareness Month - something that is intended to be supportive and comforting can actually be a sad reminder that your life has changed in many ways that you cannot and will not ever recover. 

Even now, my third October living with breast cancer, the commercials, ads, Facebook posts...they wear on you. I have been lucky to have found it easy to recignize the positive intentions. It's always easy to appreciate the gesture, even if I'm not a fan of the manifestation.

1) Donate to an organization that has less overhead and truly funds breast cancer research (I wouldn't be mad if it was an organization focused on Metastatic Breast Cancer...). Or...donate to a smaller, more local organization, maybe one that provides financial and other support to patients in your area.

2) Don't pink for the sake of pinking. Just because there is a pink ribbon on an item, doesn't mean you need it. If you were going to buy it anyway, that's awesome, but there is no need to go out of your way! The item's purchase results in a small donation, if it's something you were not going to get anyway, why not donate the cost of the item?

3) Make awesome things happen on a micro level. If you want to do something for those living with breast cancer, why not start with people in your life, social circle, or community? Do something nice or helpful for that person. I'm a huge fan of small gestures and they make a difference - having been on the receiving end of many kind gestures in the last few years, I can assure you - it helps.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Not That Bad; Definitely Not Good

It's so much easier to share good news than it is to share bad news. Even if it is just slightly bad. Telling others makes it real-er than it was when it was just information rolling around in your head.

I got my PET scan results back and it wasn't good. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't good. Having metastatic breast cancer creates a lot of roller coaster-like days...weeks...months...and being that I'm already inclined to being a dramatic, emphatic person...the roller coaster is definitely the kind with more serious height restrictions.

My PET scan showed spread and growth to more bones. I have to be grateful that I've dodged involvement by my vital organs, but that is still really hard. The doctor called me the Wednesday after my scan and gave me the news and I got a full report last Friday. That little spot in my right shoulder lit up (it had lit up before), I have new spots in a thoracic vertebrae, a tailbone, my pubic bone...and huge holes in mah swag. Seriously, not feelin' myself lately.

It's a huge sense of failure, it's impossible to not wonder if there was something I did or didn't do - was there something within my control that could have prevented the progression? Logically, I know there is not. In addition to the feeling of loss I feel for everything else, there's a sense of loss as I lose this one course of treatment and an option slips through my fingers.

My treatment is changing so it's on to the next. I can't start right away, because the treatment is for post menopausal women (which I am...thanks to DRUGS), but because of my age, they are appealing to the insurance company for me. Still no chemo, so I can be grateful for that.