As someone who has never blogged, or even been on facebook i thought this would be the perfect time to start as a way to keep my family and friends informed about my craptaculous "adventure" that i'm about to embark on! Ok, i don't know if i would say it's an adventure because it's not like i'm taking a trip around the world (although that would be much more ideal), but rather i have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I was initially diagnosed with stage 3a breast cancer two and a half years ago when i was 26 years old and although it was a hard diagnosis to get, there was a light at the end of the tunnel that made it so much more bearable because it was "curable". This time around, it's no longer curable but i'm optimistic with the advancements in oncology that i will have a long and happy life:)
To give a little bit of background i had been having extreme pain to my sternum that radiated to my back for a few months that seemed to get progressively worse. By boxing day i had had enough of the constant pain so i went to a walk in clinic. That was my first mistake. I mean i should have known since i always hated their lack of thoroughness, however, in my mind i already knew what was wrong with me and i was simply going to ask for a stronger NSAID as i had thought i had costochondritis. Sure enough that's what the walk in clinic doctor thought and he wrote me a script for exactly what i had asked for, perfect!
Fast forward another month and sure enough the pain was only getting worse. A little voice in my head knew that this was no longer normal, but honestly i didn't want to accept the possibility of what else it could be. I decided after many continuous nudges, from some lovely friends with the best intentions, to email my oncologist. Sure enough he speedily decided to do a CT and bone scan. That was clue #1 when he got me in within a week that life may not be as sweet and peachy as i had hoped.
The day after getting a bone scan i went to meet with my oncologist. When i went to check in the lady smiled, asked for my name, and asked who i had an appointment with. Now don't get me wrong this lady seemed like a nice, friendly person, however as a patient who was already stressed to the point of wanting to vomit she used a couple choice words that left me even more stressed. She gave me a paper and said, "you need to go get bloodwork". I looked at her and thought, oh this poor secretary is confused as i did bloodwork a week ago and why would i possibly need to do it again? I simply told her, "no that's done already and it was fine". She looked puzzled, looked at the paper, and said, "no, actually it's STAT bloodwork. It's because you're starting treatment". I looked at her and kind of felt pissed off and told her, "No, not that i know of". She handed me the requisition and that's when i truly knew the cancer was back, although i wasn't sure as to what extent. I wonder how often a simple interaction with someone where words are spoken that end up changing a person's life?? I walked to get my bloodwork and at this point i was on the verge of wanting to vomit, burst out crying, or pass out. As i looked around i once again realized everyone there was more than double my age. These people were all old enough to be grandparents, and there i was with my sweet bald hubby (Chris) who appeared to look more like the cancer patient than me. These people got to grow old, and in a way i was jealous of them. How the hell did i get myself into this super crappy situation?? I never did drugs, don't drink, and eat healthy, and yet these were the cards i got dealt.
When we sat down with my lovely oncologist to discuss the results; i already knew. Firstly, if you have to get cancer he is the oncologist you want because he actually seems like he cares about his patients, and in that sense i feel very lucky. He went on to tell me that i had cancer in my sternum, however also in my left hip and T7 on my spine. Those other two locations were a complete and utter shock. That's when i burst out crying. I tried to keep it together, however the realization of the reality and the scope of this diagnosis sucked. I really don't know how else to explain it, but to realize that i will need treatment for the rest of my life for an incurable disease is devastating. So after many days of being mad, sad, confused, and a speeding and parking ticket, i decided to pull it together as i felt i had had enough of feeling like a mess. So i have decided that i want to have fun and laugh everyday. I will no longer waste my time on things that don't matter to me, and i want to inform my other youngish (under 40) females about the reality of this disease and the importance of early detection and prevention because this is by no means only an old person's disease.
I will keep everyone posted on the ups and downs, and everything in between as my life unfolds!!