Some days you just want to step away from your life and say, “Enough.” Today was another visit with my oncologist, and it was one of those days.
It seems that the plans for treatment and surgeries have grown more complicated as the weeks have passed. As of today, there’s chemo, bilateral mastectomy, hysterectomy, Tamoxifen (for possibly 10 years), and scans every 6-12 months. And that’s only to treat and monitor the cancer.
When asked about the possibility that I have Cowden Syndrome, the oncologist first nodded but then began discussing alleles and said that I would definitely have to consult with a genetics counselor about further investigation into the PTEN mutation after my cancer treatment is over.
What I understood from that discussion was that he felt I had Cowden Syndrome, but he couldn’t officially diagnose me with that disease. That diagnosis would have to come from someone else. His bailiwick is cancer and only cancer.
Sometimes the fear just gets to be too much. How will all of this affect me? My marriage? My family? My ability to work?
And that overwhelming fear is still mixed with gratitude because I know in many ways I’m darned lucky. I realize that, but often my heart doesn’t. But for now I have anti-anxiety meds that help me get through each day and the various medical surprises.
Tomorrow’s chemo day. Honestly, I’m grateful for it in a weird way. Having inflammatory breast cancer, I can see how the treatment is working to shrink the lesions. Do I look forward to the pain? Heck no. But it’s nice to have that reassurance that the treatment is working as it should.
Obviously, my life and emotions are kind of a mess right now. I’m 43, unemployed, being treated for cancer, and possibly have a rare genetic disorder. I go from overwhelming anxiety one minute to crying the next. All of my “life plans” center around the medical establishment at the moment. But I know that it all could have been much worse.
Fear and gratitude, all in one jumbled mess. One day at a time. Often one minute at a time right now.