Friday, December 2, 2011

CancerGirl Hits One Year!!!

Hey everyone!!! I can't believe it has been 1 year that I have been "Cancer Free" although I hate when people use the phrase because it leads one to think that there is such a thing as "Cancer Free".  I guess in a way there is.  If you look at it from a strictly physical standpoint, you can be "free of Cancer cells".  So I will concede that there is a "Cancer Free".

To me, being Cancer Free would mean that you are forever now free from Cancer.  That doesn't happen though.  You walk away from that last PET scan being told that there is now no more Cancer Cells being able to be seen.  If one was truly Cancer Free, then they would be free from Cancer in their life.  This doesn't happen.  It is much more likely that your first year Cancer Free will include these milestones of freedom:

      You will have a tiny little almost barely a symptom happen.  This can be something from a fever (and after Cancer, 99.1 is now considered a reason for alarm bells to ring) to more then a few days of not going to the lair's "facilities" you will begin to swear that you have Cancer again, and that will lead to the next  milestone

     You will call your Oncologist panicked.  If you are lucky, this call will be made during the day, and not at 2AM when you still haven't been able to "go" or that itch on your breast hasn't gone away all day, you will call him and tell him (or her) that you need to see them as soon as possible. If it is during office hours, and you have a truly awesome SuperOncologist, he will fit you in to see him.  If it is at 2AM, no matter how SUPER your Oncologist is, they do not like to be woken up to be told that you have a 99.1 fever and do they think you should go to the ER yet or not.  The idea that "catching it early" is the best thing, will ring in your head, and you think over and over again "If I catch it soo early it is a speck on a PET scan, then I wont be caught off guard again!!! This brings us to the next milestone

     You will insist on ANOTHER scan.  If you didn't wake your SuperOncologist at 2AM you will get an appointment, When your oncologist comes in, you will tell him your symptom, HE will tell you that yes, it is one symptom, but that you are only out of treatment 3 months, and I don't think a slight fever warrants another PET scan.  He will then tell you how "normal it was" to be having fears.  He will tell you that you don't have to worry, you are Cancer Free.  You won't feel very Cancer Free, You will also feel like you are still waiting for it to come back.  You will talk to friends and family, which brings us to the next milestone

     You will ask everyone in your friends and family what they think of the symptom.  This especially applies if your family members are in the medical field.  You will ask your husband over and over again if they think that you seem sick.  You will ask your family members if they sometimes have a pain in their side that came for like 5 minutes then never happened again, and what they think it means.  If your friends and family are as awesome as mine were, they will tell you not to worry.  They will tell you that you need to go out and do things!!!! This brings us to the next milestone.

     You will be asked to walk in a number of different "walks".   I am not saying that you shouldn't do Cancer walks, I am saying that you will be asked to walk in a lot of them.  I say if you are up to it, go for it.  If you don't feel up to it, don't feel guilty that you don't walk.  I don't mean just physically up to it, I mean mentally up to it as well.  Walks are VERY intense emotional events.  The survivors lap of a Cancer Walk alone is enough to make every single being able to cry shed tears.  Some people want to be "done with Cancer" and they don't want to walk, they don't want to go to benefits, they want to put Cancer behind them, and that's ok.  Every one's journey is their own, so if you don't want to walk, then don't let anyone make you feel like you have to!!  The next milestone was probably the most surprising one

     You will have a lot of fear of that 1 year visit.  You will spend the 2 months before your visit wondering if you are going to have something bad happen on that 1 year PET scan.  You worry even more about the little tiny twinges of pain or you ask yourself (and others) "Do you think my glands feel swollen" and then ask them to touch your neck.  The fact that you have touched your own neck so many times that you cant tell anymore if they were that big before.  SuperFriend Lynne told me at lunch the day of my 1 year PET scan that there is a muscle that runs along side the neck that can get sore, and that many times it is mistaken for glands being swollen.  CancerGirl amazingly didn't worry about her glands the rest of that day.  You will have to cut some of the safety net away now, this was probably the hardest of the milestones.

     You will loose the safety net of your regular Oncologist visits.   During treatment many patients get very close to their Oncologist. They trust him, this man or woman has saved their life, literally!  There was definitely a grieving process involved.  I loved my Oncologist.  He was AWESOME and I was very fortunate to have had him on my team.  He was always positive but realistic.  He called me lucky one time, and it caused me to spend countless hours venting to my therapist how I couldn't believe his AUDACITY to have used the word LUCKY to a cancer patient.  It brought me around to truly realizing how truly lucky I am.  I have a husband who loves me, even with my many faults.  He loves me even though I have a Diet Coke and Mc Donalds addiction.  I will work on those things. 

I have become closer to my family, to my mother, my sister, my extended family who I hadnt talked to in many years.  (Love you Cousin Laura!!!)  I have the best BFF in the world, and I am alive and able to continue my mission of spreading the SuperPower of Happiness!!! I said goodbye to my Oncologist and cried a little on the way home.  Then I saw my SuperHubby and the SuperDogs and I realized that I was actually kinda happy that I am not 100% "Cancer Free", having Cancer still be a big part of my life has brought many AWESOME things into my life.  Tomorrow I will post about all those AWESOME things as they are too many and this post is long enough as it is!! Here is a picture of me and the SuperDogs, 1 year not so "Cancer Free"






3 comments:

  1. Duh,I just read that the pic is you. Even with that floppy hat covering part of your face, it doesn't look like you! Have you lost a bit of weight? Cute pic.

    XXOO

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  2. Oh, my first comment didn't post so I guess the one prior to this post doesn't make much sense. I'd asked you in the first post who was in that pic with SD Sr and SD Jr. Anyway, great post. You're onc actually comes to the phone at 2 a.m.??

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  3. Yeah it's me, I think I am like 20 pounds thinner there then I am now.

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