I know I hit everyone with quite a curveball. I can’t promise we have all the information still. It’s coming, and moving fast. But I want to give you the facts first and foremost. In this situation, there are two types of facts. The ones that give you a perspective of my body… and the ones weighing on my mind.
Let’s start with the science. A spinal tap and sample of my cerebral fluid found traces of breast cancer within. What does this mean? It means that my brain and spinal column are circulating around with a cocktail of tainted cells brushing up on all the important parts of my neurology. Most of the cells have adhered to the back (occipital) part of my brain. If I had to choose, this would be the place I’d pick for it to happen. This part of my brain doesn’t effect personality or memory or mood. Another light. There are no MASSES. My brain is simply “coated” like a powdered donut. (YUM!)
After discovering the cancer was back, we performed a PET scan. This is a radioactive injection used to highlight all traces of cancer in the body. Here is where we have more good news. The cancer is only in my spinal column, as well as a few lymph nodes of my neck. I can not repeat enough how lucky I feel about this. This cancer could have gone anywhere… Heart. Lungs. Anywhere. For now it is contained, and the infection of an easily biopsy—able area helps with treatment.
So what are we doing with this mess….. Today I had my fifth round of radiation. I have five more to go of my full brain. They are trying to kill off as much as they can without attacking my spine. So far… no side effects. My team is so motivated and organized, I was literally in treatment the day they told me the cancer was back. On Friday, I will have a biopsy on the lymph nodes to determine the type of breast cancer and finalize the rest of our treatment plan. Next Tuesday, they will put my PORT back in to receive chemotherapy. The hope is to get one round in before we move to Tennessee on the 19th. Somehow all the pieces are falling together like a puzzle and I’m so grateful for the ease of this transition. My doctor’s at Vanderbilt are already scheduled and ready to hit the ground running.
Shew…… so believe it or not…. that was the easy part to tell.
Now the harder part. I don’t want to give anyone false expectations. Myself included.
The facts of my life lay as follows…
Right now, my disease is beyond science. There is no cure. There is only treatment. But that does not mean there is no hope. I hope that my body holds for 1… 5… 10 years and science finds me. It’s not impossible. It does happen. I can fight and I can hold on and I can try everything. And, of course, you know I’m a damned stubborn fool and someone will be dragging me kicking and screaming away from this life.
What do we hope for? We can get to a state of NED (No evidence of Disease). This doesn’t mean it’s gone. It means that I’m living as healthy as I could possibly be. The rest of my life will be a continuation of treatments until one of two things happen. And honest to God, I’m okay with that.
There is a weird thing that happens to me when these times have fallen. I become ever so grateful and overwhelmed about how privileged my life has been. I take stock and realize that I’ve had a grand adventure of a life. The relationships I’ve cultivated are so much deeper than most people have the chance to experience. I’ve seen the world through so many eyes. I’ve fallen hopelessly in love with MY perfect man. I found out that the thing I wanted the most was something I swore I’d never have… the two tiniest perfect hearts to nurture.
So, if I could ask you for now… Let me make dreams and hopes and plans because it isn’t over. I don’t feel sick and I’m living life fuller in the last week than I have in the last year. I want to talk to you and laugh and go out and be a part of everything. Include me in your plans, and share your pains with me. It is okay to be sad, just not for the reason you think. I’m mourning nothing. Don’t treat me like I’m dying because I’m really too busy making plans for living.