Not quite sure

I was going to title it "progress", but since in the cancer world, progress (or its variant, progression) isn't always a positive thing, I figured I had better not. Anyhow, back to the random thoughts.

The other night Greg and I went to have dinner with someone (a new friend, now) we had met through a mutual friend. She and our friend became friends in their college days and have stayed close, since. We first met her in last year's Team THRIVR golf tournament, and have since run into her on a couple of occasions while she was working. I'm not going to use her name here, mainly because I haven't asked her and she has a fairly public persona and probably doesn't want to be Googled. Particularly now.

We recently found out that she was diagnosed with breast cancer - she had her first mammogram after she turned 40, and there it was. WTF. Ironically, the last time we saw her before this week was mid-December, the day before she had to go in for a 2nd (diagnostic) mammogram. Prior to that, it had been quite a few months. Anyhow, our mutual friend let us know, and also told her that I (we) would be a good resource if she ever needed one. The expert on everything I've never wanted to know...

Long story short, we exchanged a few emails, discovered we had some very similar personality traits, and Greg and I had dinner with she and her husband this week. She has a very sweet, very supportive husband, and two of the cutest, most polite kids I've ever met (3 and 6).

I really enjoyed talking to them, and I think I was able to answer some of their questions. Like us, they are well-versed on what's going on with it all, yet are cautious not to cross the line of OVER-researching. Her pathology is eerily similar to what mine was when I was first diagnosed in 2000. I sometimes still can't believe it will have been nine years at the end of this month. I realize that each situation is so different, yet so many have certain similarities, particularly when they involve similar personalities and how people deal with crises. I'm still in amazement as to how much progress in diagnostic techniques, surgery techniques, and treatment recommendations have been made in the past nine years. Progress. So much progress. It gives me so much hope for the future.

And then, there's me. Anomaly me. Every now and then I get an inkling of doubt about talking to people recently diagnosed and telling them my sequence of events. I know that I probably would have been my own worst nightmare back in 2000 when I was first diagnosed. On paper, my history looks like the person for whom it never should have come back. Stage 1, no nodes, no family history, 7 years clean...but it did. Then again, 28 is very different than 40, or even 37 for that matter. Also, I feel it entirely depends upon how you are equipped to handle these things, and what type of support system you have. In any case, thankfully, the inkling passes and I can't say that I have ever held back from telling people my entire story - even as it continues to unfold. Even when I see the look of terror from the girl in her mid 30s sitting next to me in the shower line at the 3-Day who has just reached her 5 year mark and thinks she is home free. I have to remind them that I am the anomaly. In the big picture, I realize that I have a lot of things to say that people simply need to hear. The positive things.

Our new friend? She rocks. She's strong and talented and has conviction and faith and love around her and I do believe she is one of the people that will put it behind her as soon as possible. Hell, I did. I do every day, in some ways. In other ways? I'll never have that opportunity again.

There's no putting it behind me because there is no cure. Not yet, at least. Right now, there is also no more NED. Not until they find something that crosses the blood-brain barrier. It's been an interesting transformation, coming to terms that there simply is no putting it behind me, just treatments and scans and waiting and yes... life. That's the important part. The rest are temporary lapses. I suppose that's how I still get to put it behind me at times.

There is, however, stable. Stable is a wonderful thing and I hope to be there for as long as possible. At least until they find that damn elusive cure.

Meanwhile, there's life. And damned if I'm going to miss out on any of it.

(I apparently like to use the word 'damn' when I'm making a point... even to myself. Funny. Never noticed it before...)


    *waves* Hi!

    Damn straight stable is good!

    On March 10, 2009 at 1:23 PM Anonymous said...

    Hi. Several months ago, I stumbled upon your blogspot, although now I can't remember how. Recently, I lost a family member to Breast Cancer about 2 weeks before her 28th birthday (after a very tough 3 almost 4 year battle). Although I do not know first hand what it is like to struggle with the battle against cancer, and have only watched those I love battle it, it touches me.

    Your blog touches me - inspires me, and makes me want to do more and be more. Thank you for sharing your story! I feel moved to let you know what your writings mean to me, as I feel slightly guilty for peaking in on your life.... but thank you for letting me do so.

    You are missed by many. And, you have inspired many, many more. Especially my daughter, carrot face's mother.

    Thanks for your excellent guide man

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