Well, I haven’t written anything since the first episode where I described how this long journey began, so this installment is long overdue! The way I’m going to tell my story, going forward, is to catch you up with my current status first, and then go back to the beginning, flashback style.
You’ll get a current update, sometimes, at the beginning of each new blog, & then another flashback segment to fill in this long story and get it told. Sometimes it will be just a flashback episode, under the label “The Journey Continues” – it will be an ongoing adventure.
Finally, I have the energy and stamina to do this, so here goes…
New routines are finally taking shape, thank goodness! We got to the gym 3 times this past week, upping activity & exercises one by one.
My Oxygen saturation levels have begun to improve since I started at the gym. The anemia (surgically induced; who knew?) keeps them low, which is part of why I’m so fatigued a lot. I’m hoping that this will all improve as my activity increases & my weight drops.
My Dr (PCP) started me on a BP med to counteract the high BP caused by 2 other meds I’m on, 1 to control my overactive bladder muscle, & the other to suppress estrogen, which is what breast cancer feeds on. I have to take that med for a total of 5 years (3 yrs, 9 & 1/2 mo to go), just in case any cancer cells got into the lymph system to go hide elsewhere in the body. If there were any, which I’m told is unlikely (but there’s no way to know), they would be unable to grow without any food source. Supposedly, the 5 years is long enough to keep them from ever activating, if there were any hiding anywhere. Since I’m not a gambler & am more practical & pragmatic, I decided I wasn’t willing to take any chances, so I take the medicine. The side effects were a little daunting at the beginning, but mostly either subsided or modified to tolerable after the first 3-6 months on it.
Now we have to counteract the one major side effect that started later & continues, High BP, so that it doesn’t cause other damage to any organs, etc. What truly amazes me is that the benefit of the BP med was immediate! My BP dropped A LOT after just the first dose, & continues to fluctuate between normal & only slightly high.
In the meantime, I have been declared a Survivor, a year ago May 14th (356 days), by my oncologist.
My breast cancer surgeon declared me cancer-free after the first hour of my first surgery on November 17, 2016 (534 days ago), when she removed all breast tissue plus 4 lymph nodes, only one of which had any cancer cells in it, but not enough to truly call it positive, they said. There needs to be a 2mm cluster for that; mine was only 1mm. As far as I’m concerned, if there was only one cell there, that was one too many, & in my mind, quite positive.
As for the breast tissue, she removed all of it, said she got all of the cancer, & the pathology report declared clear margins around all the cancer spots; there were quite a few, 2 different types.
I’ve learned, over the past year, that most drs never really say “cancer-free” anymore; they say “No Evidence of Disease “ or “NED.” I’ll take it either way! YAY!!
The future will be what it will be, but I won’t live my life expecting cancer to rear its ugly head again!!
It’s only been 6 & 1/2 months since my last surgery (of 7), and I keep thinking I should be better than I am, then someone reminds me it was only 6 months ago, & I had a total of 7 O.R. visits in 11 months, with an enormous amount of anesthesia hours wracked up, & the last 3 times I experienced a full system crash after anesthesia & antibiotics were administered. More on that as The Journey Continues.
So, actually, I’m doing pretty darn well, all told!! I’M ALIVE!!! & functioning rather well!! Thank you, Father God!!!
The recovery & recuperation continues, & I continue to improve, slowly but surely.
GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS on time, every time!!! If you’re a guy, make sure the ladies in your life do!! Doing so absolutely saved my life!! It can save yours, too!! Look around you at all the ladies you know; current statistics are that 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer. Who will it be, one of the other 7, or you?
Don’t take chances! The earlier it is caught, the easier, less invasive the treatment, & you have less possibility of needing chemo or radiation treatments. Having said that, some cancers need those no matter how early they are caught, based on their type & aggressiveness, but early detection can also minimize how much chemo &/or radiation is needed.
Don’t let fear hold you back; it will give cancer time to grow!! Always be courageous!! You get thru it by taking just the next step, one by one.
Thanks for listening!!
Watch for the next segment…