The past few weeks have been a seemingly never ending whirl of doctors, technicians, magnetic resonance imaging, PET, CT, and Bone scans. Among other things, they test ones ability to survive these tests.
In one day I was injected with three different radioactive isotopes, all to test a different body part. I wonder just how healthy is that? But we are past worrying about my "getting cancer" now.
I discovered two things:
The first was that my cancer has not spread any where. I have a funky thyroid that "needs looking at" but that can wait at the end of the line. My bones are clear, my organs are all in one piece and not harboring any terrorist cells and I have just been informed I have an "unremarkable brain." Funny he should think so, because I am coming up with some rather remarkable remarks to that declaration, but I am being good. You see, I have to be. I have cancer, for the second time. Being snippy doesn't help in the kharma department. So on top of everything else I have to be nice to people.
I have met with my new breast surgeon and new plastic surgeon and all systems are go and as of Tuesday evening I will no longer have the breasts I hoped would grow when I was a girl. I even did the Judi Blume exercises religiously---"we must we must we must increase our bust" whilst flapping my elbows like a deranged chicken. And then they DID grow, and made me so self conscious that my best friend and I walked with our arms tightly crossed around our chest so that no one would notice just how effective the chicken dance improves a girl's silhouette. This was my best friend all through my school girl days. She is gone now. The Beast took her about five years ago.
When we were girls, pouring over our Seventeen magazines in her hot attic, never did we imagine that the long haired, carefree lives those grown up girls were living would escape us entirely. Our futures were never to hold the promise of a baby or a husband - we got cancer instead.
My cancer is different this time. My first was ER/PR negative. Also known as "the bad one" because there is nothing to treat it with after chemo and it is extremely aggressive. No, this time it is ER/PR Positive. Which means I have a plethora of medications to choose from that can help me live longer.... everyone tells me I should be happy. All I feel is tired. I feel like FDR must have when he thought that he was gaining headway in the European theater only to be attacked by Japan. Now he has to always keep an eye on the continent, and also make up as he goes along this unknown enemy from the east.
I will write more about my upcoming surgery. I will detail it out. But now, I want to watch an old movie and pretend it is just like any other cozy night at home and not t-minus three days to bilateral mastectomy.....
Please know this: you don't ever have to tell a cancer patient how brave they are, and how strong they are. They are doing the best that they can. They can't change anything- and they must beat on. Are they any more special than people cancer free? Yes. Because their diagnosis has brought them to a place that has always been there but they never knew it. Everyone has greatness inside them, everyone is a super hero, they just don't realize it until they are forced to find that strength within them that has always been there.
Have faith and don't be afraid. The warrior in you is there- always- and that warrior will be called to service from time to time and you will see for yourself, your real strength and it will sustain you. No matter how bad it gets. In the immortal words of Stevie Wonder, "Ya Gots to do what you gots to do!"