As much as I want to insist that I have been completely calm and relaxed and haven’t thought about cancer at all this past week I would be a liar. Staying positive is hard work and pretty much impossible. You feel like the bringer of doomsday, but these days, EVERYTHING is cancer. Acne = cancer. Sore toe = cancer. Mole = cancer. You name it… luckily I only panic about things that realistically could become/be cancer (at least I tell myself that). I am not sure when things stop being cancer in your mind. I really couldn’t actually believe that the lump I had was going to be cancer (the statistical possibility, at 30 years old, was extremely low, but someone does always have to be THE statistic). This is maybe why I overreact about every other lump, bump, ache and pain. I can’t discount this type of experience though, women who find out that they have mets (metastatic disease) find out in these kinds of circumstances, which is why it can be super scary.
I forget people aren’t obsessed with researching breast cancer online like I am (fascinated, seriously, fascinated…). If you are diagnosed at stage I even if you have treatment you can have a breast cancer tumor show up somewhere else in your body. This now means you have stage IV or metastatic breast cancer, not stage I anymore. No one dies of stage I cancer, people die of stage IV cancer, which means the cancer eventually moved elsewhere in the body and took up residence. Metastatic breast cancer does not have a cure at the moment, treatment has improved, mets patients live longer and more comfortable lives than they did 10 years ago, but it isn’t a life you would personally go out and choose for yourself. Mets patients live from scan to scan and one chemo drug to the next. If this ever becomes my fight I will certainly take it on, but at the moment I really think it would be cool to someday be declared in remission.
We treated the cancer in my breast and armpit, there is very little chance it will ever grow back there. The teensy chance is my lungs, liver and bones. So a four week back ache becomes a pretty serious concern, even though the chances are still low that it is actually caused by cancer. I have never had a back ache like this that has lasted this long with medication.
One of my employees told me to stay away from “Dr. Google” and explained that they look up everything related to their young daughter and freak out because according to Dr. Google she has had about 72 fatal illnesses. So true… I try to be careful what I look up and how much I take it seriously. I am not a medical professional, and every ache and bump is probably going to freak me out. Mike and I decided that we will have a scare regularly every few months and hopefully they get further and further apart or less and less intense. It just complicates things when the results of a test, no matter how low the possibility is of it being cancer, mean life or death.
Don’t worry about me dying from cancer, I am probably going to die of a heart attack at this rate. YEESH.
I went in this morning and got my radioactive isotopes injected. The radiation tech that injected me was wearing very little protective gear, so it seemed that my assumption about the level of the radiation involved may have been a bit over the top. PET CT, they tell you not to hug babies. Bone scan – meh – do whatever, hug ALL of the babies. The machine was exactly like the one they use for the mugga scan. Between injection and scan we barely had any time to run a few errands, eat lunch and get back to the hospital to get scanned.
I asked the tech when they expected to have the results, she told me my doctor would have them at 5:00. This means I called at 4:30 and left a message for my oncology nurse that I heard they may have them this afternoon (hint hint). After the scans were done I went home and curled up in bed and took a nap. The emotions wrapped up in these tests are exhausting, and it is impossible to not take in “all of the possibilities.” Plus it seems to be that when we are overly optimistic it doesn’t turn out, so pessimism has paid off the last few times… sort of.
The nurse called and told me that my scans came back perfectly clean. In fact, they were freakishly clean, I had no “uptake” of the isotopes at all anywhere in my skeleton. I have never broken a bone and I have no spots on my bones mending themselves anywhere. AWESOME news for my skeleton, but now I have to figure out which one of the 1,000+ things that cause back pain (thanks Dr. Google) is causing mine. Right now I lean with the surgeon’s opinion, the pain is awfully close to where they took the muscles out of my back to be “coincidence.” Now that we know it is a soft tissue problem (even though the previous soft tissue treatments weren’t fruitful), we have narrowed down the possibilities. Hopefully we can come to a conclusion, resolution or a miracle.
I actually had three days with little to no pain, so maybe I am healing, but I ended up sore again Tuesday and it could be a combination of stress and sore back that make a super sore back, maybe I just need a hot massage… Now I think I definitely “need” a massage. I am new to the world of back pain (I certainly have pulled out my lower back a few times, but the mid-back is foreign to me). I guess we will see, but the “worst” possible cause is ruled out, so now we can look for solutions and hopefully get everything back in order.
I am also getting a new chair at work and we are going to replace our ten year old mattress at home. We will figure it out.