***Warning: swearing involved in this post ***
I had my full chest/pelvic area CT scan done last week and my bone scan was yesterday. In between my radioactive dye injection and the scan, my oncology team had booked me in for a clinic appointment.
I thought they were just going to put me back on medication (Tamoxifen) or something else that would limit the risks of clotting. What I didn’t expect was that they would have the results of the CT scan and that it would not be good news…
I had hoped that this blog would start to dwindle a little as I was clear of cancer and therefore didn’t have much to contribute but unfortunately, as of yesterday, I am no longer cancer free…I have developed secondary breast cancer in my lungs. The little black spots they had seen on the scan I had for my pulmonary embolism (PE) were confirmed to be metastatic nodules. I felt sucker punched. The wind went out of me, the tears welled up in my eyes – I am not a crier but this was too bloody unfair! I was with a registrar at the time and she didn’t know much about my case and started to talk about chemotherapy…I felt like crying some more…I mean, I am just starting to get used to my new hair. I can’t deal with this again. I can’t. But of course, I can, I have to, there is no other way. I am not the type that will curl in a ball and die. I am the type that stands up, arms raised, fist clenched, chin thrust forward and say “come on, let’s see what you’ve got you bastard!”.
So, here I am again, having to deal with this shit. Because I am all for silver lining, the good news amongst all this crap is that it was noticed really early on, thanks to my PE, and therefore the nodules are quite small in size. Yay(ish). After the registrar had a little catch up with the big dudettes of the oncology department, I was told that actually, at this stage chemotherapy was not on the cards – well thank fuck for small mercies – and instead I would be put on a different drug combination. Tamoxifen obviously didn’t work at keeping the cancer at bay, so I am now on what is known as an aromatase inhibitor called Letrozole (Femara) which is normally given to post-menopausal women. I can expect a full return of night sweats, hot flushes and insomnia then. In combination, I am also given a booster shot, which I am to have once a month. I can’t remember the name of the drug. It’s in a pellet form to be injected in the belly and slowly releases for a month.
The bummer side of this all, is that it can no longer be cured. I will live with those nodules forever (you know what I mean) or until they find a cure (which could still happen). Apparently many women live with this for years and years, with the medication keeping the progression under control. At best, the medication will shrink the nodules, the middle ground is that the medication will stop it from progressing without reducing them and the worst case scenario, it will not work and the cancer will continue progressing. I am due some fucking good luck, so I am hoping to at least be in the middle! If it does carry on, I will probably have to have some chemo again… The registrar could see that I was a) shocked and b) upset (no shit, Sherlock!) but she wanted me not to panic -Oh yeah? Well tell that to my trembling hands, racing heart and freaking mind! I haven’t have much luck lately when getting tests results so it’s hard not to think about it. But she is right, I have to not think about the potential negative, it won’t help.
So what’s next? Well, in six weeks time I have to go back for another CT scan so they can assess how the new medication is working…If I am responding, then they’ll keep me on this protocole until the next check up (I don’t know how often I will have to have those now), if it doesn’t then we are back to the drawing board…
This is definitely not how I wanted to start my year…this was supposed to be my year! I just turned 40 and had a great time at my birthday celebration and I looked darn good…now I am a little deflated, I am back to being unsure of my future, not being able to make plans and wondering what more shit is going to be shovelled my way!
I haven’t told my family yet…they were aware of the tests and what it could mean but I haven’t told them that it’s confirmed to be bad…I just can’t face it just yet. I need a little more time to process the info. I have told my friends and colleagues, who have all been really supportive and lovely and I have gone to work today…staying home with time to think and wallow would be the worse thing for me right now…
Onwards and upwards as they say, I have to keep going until I can’t stand up no more… I wish things were different…Now I have to wait for the bone scan results to know if it has also gone into my bones…more waiting *sigh*
ps: I apologise for all the swearing in this post. I usually try not to but I just couldn’t help it. It really felt that it was the only way to express how I felt.