I'm three weeks out from my mastectomy now.
Everything is healing well. I am starting to be able to really use my left arm for reaching and lifting, which are awesome skills to have.
Radiation therapy is not too far off. Once I begin, that'll be five days a week for six weeks.
You read that right: Every day for 6 weeks. Crazy, right?
At my follow-up appointment with Dr. R the other day, I asked if my reaccurance rate was lower since the chemo had been so effective in eradicating the tumor (remember, he said that since there was no tumor at the time of surgery, things were looking very good for me). He paused for a second and said no. At the time of diagnosis, he gave me a print-out that said if I did chemo, surgery and radiation, my reaccurance rate was 41%.
The thing is, though, this is based on the tumor. This isn't based on me. I know it is a crap shoot: For some women it comes back, and for some it doesn't. It's like lightening striking. But I plan to beat this. 41% rate or not.
People beat the odds against them every day. Not just in cancer. Life is about beating the odds, right?
I don't want to live in fear of reaccurance. I can't live in fear of reaccurance.
But maybe I can't bring another being into this situation just yet either.
Not that I was planning to get pregnant right away. But maybe a year out is too optimistic.
Dr. R says he worries most about reaccurance in years 2 and 3. (I'm in year 1 now; you start counting at diagnosis.)
So, back the truck up. Slow down a bit. Let's be smart:
- Live each day -- really LIVE it -- and be thankful for that day.
- Don't dwell on the what-ifs.
- Get healthy and make a body that is less hospitable for cancer.
So, maybe I won't be pregnant this time next year. Or the year after that. But I can be healthy and strong. I've got 30 lbs to loose, I'll focus there. For some women, breast cancer reaccurance is associated with high blood sugar levels. And high blood sugar levels are associated with obesity and a big belly. So, as the Herceptin continues to work it's magic, I'll work my own magic and get fit.
My reaccurance rate is 41%.
My living to be an old lady rate is 59%.
You best believe I'll be here wrinkled and grey and grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
(Picture credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)