For the past four years I have tried to keep my cancer in the back of my life. Trying to remind myself that it is just something I have to deal with and not something that defines me. Lately, probably since I started on this new chemo trial, there has been a shift and my cancer is definitely in the forefront of everything. I have more appointments, more trips into Boston, more side effects and more scans.
Every six weeks I have to report into DFCI for scans. I receive a CT scan every six weeks and get a bone scan every 12. I get injected with radioactive dye and drink my CT contrast and then I get shoved into noisy machines that will tell me what my next six weeks will look like and what my cancer is doing inside of my body.
Luckily my last set of scans were stable. This means that there was no shrinkage in my tumors but that there was also no progression. So we are happy…I guess. I am thankful for this news but obviously wish that the tumors continue to shrink. So after these scans, I move on for six weeks; having my appointments and getting my treatment. Then on September 23rd I will get scanned again and the next six weeks of my life will be determined. Will I remain stable and get to proceed for another six weeks or will this treatment have stopped working and I’ll have to have some changes made. It is a very vicious cycle.
It’s a funny thing when you are a “lifer” with this disease. You get to meet other “lifer’s” or as we like to call ourselves “Thriver’s”. You see each other frequently in the waiting rooms or you “meet” each other online in a support group. These women have become my lifeline with this disease. They share experiences, they understand exactly what I am going through, we all are fighting for the same reasons; our kids and spouses. It makes the time pass in waiting rooms when you get to chat and catch up with these friends. It also hurts so much when one is struggling with their own disease and runs out of treatment options. The past couple of weeks have been especially hard for me as I am struggling with the loss of two of my MBC sisters. Coincidentally both named Michelle. Both passing from this dreaded disease and leaving behind children that are the same ages as mine and husbands left to pick up the pieces. As much as I hate to say it, their deaths have made me think a lot of my own impending doom. I will one day run out of options as well. It is the nature of this beast. Who am I to think that I will be one of the ones who lives a very long time with this. I obviously hope I am but the reality is that the chances are very slim. This week I am scared. Scared of what my future holds. After speaking with my medical team yesterday, I have to try to separate myself from the struggles of others in my situation and focus on the fact that today my cancer is stable as no two cancers are the same. So very sad.
Here in our home we are doing ok. We managed to have a decent summer despite the quarantine and we are slowly coming out of isolation. We have started putting the kids back into their activities (for their sake and ours) and are opening up our “bubble” more. The kids will go back to school on the 14th and will phase in to being back to school in person for a couple of days per week. After many discussions with my doctors and our pediatrician we have made the decision to allow them to go back and feel it is the best decision for our family. We are hopeful and nervous all at the same time and are just taking it one day at a time. We hope that everyone has a healthy start to the new school year, whatever situation you find yourselves in.