This week I had a PET scan done on Tuesday. It is a fairly easy scan where I am injected with radioactive poison and then I have to drink some contrast dye that I am sure is just as bad for me. I then have to wait until October 7th to have a doctor’s appointment and go over the scan results. I have to say this is one of the hardest things to do. When I was first diagnosed I didn’t prepare myself for the cancer being in my bones so now I don’t really put too much stock in thinking that the results will be good. I guess I prepare myself for bad news just as much as good news.
Over this past week I have been doing a lot of thinking about what the future holds for me. I have also done a lot of reading. I follow several other blogs of women who have stage 4 breast cancer. Most of them have lived well past the 5 years that most doctors say we have. Some of them have even lived with the cancer spreading to their liver or lungs. Some of the things I learned was that over the last 20 years the average life of a stage 4 patient has gone up quite dramatically. With all the targeted chemos and hormone treatments, patients have so many more options. There are also so many new drugs being tested right now that those options keep increasing. That is great news for me. I also read recently that stage 4 patients who go more than 5 months between chemo treatments fair much better than those who have been switching chemo without a break. I have gotten 8-9 months between each of my chemo treatments. I guess it has something to do with how your tumor responds to chemo. I don’t put much stock into the average life span for stage 4 breast cancer patients. I have seen many women who surpass those statistics. John on the other had is a little more pessimistic and always points out that most patients follow the statistics. My doctors always tell me that I have so many options that we will treat this as a chronic illness. So until you tell me we have run out of options or that I am no longer responding to any treatments or give me a time table, I will continue living my life. I never want to live my life in the world of “what ifs.” I can’t plan to die in 5 years because that takes to much time away from having fun now! I always tell John that it is pointless to worry about the future when I have the present to enjoy.
Something funny that I read about this week was the Gold Cancer Card. I received one of these when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Okay so it isn’t really a card. Now there are correct uses of this card.
1. When you are going through chemo you have the right to use the card to deal with the side effects of the chemo.
2. When you are admitted to the hospital you have the right to use the card to rest and get the help you need.
3. You are allowed to use the card to quit work.
4. You are allowed to use the card to spend every second you can with your children, making memories and just being around them with no questions asked.
I think sometimes the power of the cancer card can be abused. I try really hard not to use it, even when it is justified because I don’t want to be the kind of person who constantly uses cancer as an excuse for everything or to get things I don’t need or deserve. For example, because I have stage 4 breast cancer I could get a handicap tag for my car. Now those who know me, know that I look like a pretty healthy person and can still get around with no problems so I really don’t need a tag and would probably get lots of looks or comments if I were to have one.
So this week I did abuse the power of this card. We had a sales lady call wanting to sell us a week on a cruise. I politely told her I wasn’t interested. She ignored me and continued on with her presentation. I once again told her we weren’t interested but she still wouldn’t listen. I then told her I had stage 4 breast cancer and unless the cruise came with an oncologist and nurse I just didn’t see myself going on a cruise anytime soon. She grew silent then said “well good luck with that.” This would probably be how not to use my cancer card.
I do have to include a little bragging on my kids. We had parent teacher conferences this last week for Jett and Abby. I don’t know if I have mentioned this already but this year Jett was placed in an Advanced Content Class which is like a gifted class. Apparently last year when he took the Georgia state test he scored well above the state average. His grades were also all in the high 90s. His teacher told us that he is the perfect student and is getting all A’s in her class. Now that is something to be very proud of! Abby’s teacher also reported that her behavior was great. She never gets in trouble and seems to just absorb everything that is being said. She is currently placed in the highest level group and works well ahead of her other classmates. She was given a computer test at the beginning of the year in which she scored in the 99th percentile for both math and reading. I guess she is following in her brother’s footsteps. Abby also is such a caring little girl. One of the girls in her class has a peanut allergy and has to sit at a separate table away from her class. When Abby saw this she asked the teacher if she could sit with this little girl and the teacher said yes. Each day the teacher checks Abby’s lunch to make sure it has no nut products in it and I always make sure to pack things she can eat at the little girl’s table. I am very proud of both of them and know that I am teaching them to be their very best for God.