More About My Cancer

When I last explained my cancer, I left you hanging about treatment and the extent of the cancer. Let me update you, because a lot has happened since that appointment with the surgeon.

So, I have had lots of tests run, and they almost all came with bad news. The cancer is a rare type called neuroendocrine, and isn’t just in my breast. It’s also on the top of my femur, on my sternum, and in a lymph gland near my heart, in addition to the main tumor, which is pretty huge, and the stuff in the lymph glands by my breast. That means it’s Stage IV cancer, which is the worst stage. The only way it could be worse is if I had tumors on major organs, like my lungs or liver.

Basically, what that means is, I am almost certainly going to die of cancer  someday. We hope that someday will be a looooong way down the road. But, it may not be. My incredibly kind oncologist, a delightful man in his 30’s who doesn’t mind my inappropriate sense of humor, is hopeful that because I am young for having cancer, and otherwise healthy, I have a good shot at the “down the road” prognosis.

Treatment plan is this: I am having chemo, and I also am having radiation on the femur and sternum tumors, because those two are causing pain. If I wasn’t having pain, they wouldn’t bother with radiation, they would just let the chemo do its thing. Surgery on the primary tumor would be a “maybe, later” thing, if the chemo works, which, it has so far–first check after the chemo showed the primary tumor had shrunk, so we appear to be on the right track. The chemo is 3 days in a row of treatment every 21 days. The first round, I was suuuuper tired during those 3 days and the 2 following, then progressively less tired each day after that. I’m working when I can (my office has been super about flexible schedule and telework) and resting when I need to. After chemo is done, I’ll move onto hormone therapy. My cancer is a type that should be receptive to hormone treatment, which is another good thing–some cancers aren’t.

Lots of folks have asked me about nausea, but the drugs for that kick ass. I haven’t puked at all. When I start to feel nausea, I pop a pill. I‘m eating normally and haven’t lost any weight. The other side effect, of course, is hair loss. It started falling out in clumps about 2 weeks after I started chemo, just like you see in the movies, like handfuls of it in the shower one morning. I bought a wig. Some folks have asked why I don’t just rock the bald look or wear scarves, but having hair, even fake hair, helps me feel more normal. I think it’ll be easier on the kids too. The Girl likes to brush my hair, and this way she still can.

So that’s it, that’s the story. I promise to keep you all updated as treatment progresses, and stay tuned for my take on what radiation is like.