Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Another Overdue Update

Sooooo, long time, no updates. It's not because treatments have gone bad or anything.  Quite the contrary, but more on that in a minute.  Physically, I'm doing okay.  Mentally, it's been a rough few weeks. I didn't want to get on here and be a Debbie Downer and complain a lot, but I didn't want to not be genuine, and be all "Everything's rosy, cancer is great!" either. Because truthfully, cancer is not great.  It's exhausting in every possible way, physically, mentally, emotionally. Some days, it's hard to find joy in the struggles.  There is still joy there, I just have to dig a little deeper for it.  And some days, quite frankly, I'm just too tired to dig.

And then I think about how easy I have it compared to so many others. I still have my hair. I can get out of bed every day. Enter that lovely emotion of guilt. Yep, then I feel guilty for not being all "Everything's rosy, cancer is great!" because do I really have anything to complain about?

Honestly, I do try to keep a positive attitude and my sense of humor and not complain and be all whiny. I know I am blessed beyond measure.  I know that God is good. But just to keep it real, I do have my moments.

It's a vicious cycle.  Welcome to my messed-up psyche. It's loads of fun inside my head.

Anyhoo, that's why there's been no updates for a while.  Aren't you glad you asked? On to the update...

I am just past the halfway point in my treatment.  I'm in week 13 of 24, to be exact. A few weeks back, we met with the genetics department to discuss family history and what-not and do the genetic testing to see if I carry the BRCA gene.

Sidenote:  Clearly, I have lived in a bubble for many years because I had no idea how absurdly expensive healthcare is.  When you are relatively healthy, you can complain about having to pay $100 for a prescription. But then you have one vial of blood tested and it costs $8000 (!!!), and your MIND IS BLOWN. Thank you, God, for health insurance, no matter how crummy it might be.

And don't even get me started on the actual medical billing. Like it's not bad enough that I have cancer, but then I have to try to decipher all the medical bills.  And y'all, I didn't used to be stupid.  I mean, I was valedictorian of my high school class. I have a college degree.  In math, no less.  But I think they go out of their way to make medical bills impossible to comprehend.  Whew! Glad to get that off my chest. No pun intended. :) End of sidenote. 

So, the results were that I don't carry the BRCA gene, which means my cancer is caused by environmental factors.  Which yay! because that means Abby doesn't have the BRCA gene and my chances of recurrence are reduced. But on the flip side, now we'll never really know what caused it. Which would be nice to know, so I could, you know, NOT DO THAT ANYMORE.

But certainly, that is an answered prayer.  If I carried the gene, it would have been an automatic mastectomy and hysterectomy for me, and genetic testing for everyone else in the family.  God moved another mountain for us!

This past week, at the 12 week mark, I had another mammogram and ultrasound, as well as another biopsy.  Biopsies are not fun.  Well, I wouldn't really classify any of this as fun, but biopsies are the least fun. The ultrasound tech did some scans while waiting on the radiologist to come in for the biopsy and showed me a side by side comparison with the scans from December.  There was a big decrease in the size! Which we kinda knew just from the physical exams, but it was nice to get confirmation of it.  And very encouraging, considering chemotherapy is deemed successful when there is no growth in the tumor.  And mine has shrunk!  Another mountain down.

So, we keep on keeping on.  Stay the course for another 12 weeks.  See what mountain God moves next. And try to stay positive and not whine.

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