I am really trying to come to terms with the fact that this is my life now… Trying to outsmart the cancer and having maintenance for the rest of my life. They say it’s your “new normal”… but there is nothing normal about having cancer living with Cancer.
I had a PET scan in June that showed something on my left femur and my Oncologist ordered an MRI. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that! I really thought I would get a few more years of peace before having to get more treatment. I just had treatment in January for my right femur. My PET scan in March gave me the all clear, but I was hesitant to share the news.
I had the MRI before we left on our family vacation, and I felt the weight of the results on my shoulders for days. Again not knowing how to feel. Just feeling numb and totally defeated. Once again my faith was being tested because I was so mad at God. It’s the 4th time that I feel I have a death sentence hanging over my head. Having to revisit all of these feelings again really takes a toll on your soul and your sanity.
Why do I keep getting bad news before a vacation. It makes me feel like I shouldn’t be going on vacation, especially during a Pandemic. My immune system was already low from the Afinitor, but we really needed to get away. But once again we kept the news to ourselves so that we wouldn’t dampen the vibe of our vacation. Honestly, this time I wasn’t optimistic about the results. Usually, I convince myself that it’s a mistake and that it’s nothing, and everytime I end up getting slapped in the face! BAM!! TOMA!! (for my Spanish speaking people… LOL) I didn’t want to feel that blow to the heart this time around. So I prepared myself for the bad news so that I could deal with whatever came my way.
Fastforward, we are back from our vacation and my Oncologist called to give me the results of the MRI. I can’t imagine how she must feel, having to deliver crappy news to her patients on a daily basis. But she is amazing! The MRI confirmed that I now have a tumor in my left femur. Pretty much in the same spot I had one my right femur. Good news is that no biopsy was needed, bad news is that we are back at this again. I will be going back for more radiation. Thankfully, my body reacts very well to the radiation and I have not had any progression in the spots that have been treated. My Onco presented my case to the tumor board again. I really feel like these people are getting tired of hearing my name, but I am so thankful that my Oncologist fights for me and really tries to find the best treatment options for me. Since it’s only one spot she’s not sure if they should be so aggressive and then I run out of treatment options. But she wants to get rid of it and move forward. I agree and I love the nerd in her!
I spoke to my Radiologist this week and he made me feel a little better. The tumor is not that big, about half an inch. It’s smaller than the one I had on my right leg. Also, it’s not attached to any of my enchondromas (cysts from my Ollier’s disease). That’s why I am not feeling any symptoms (no pain in my leg). He also said that the bone is strong enough to withstand the treatment. There is no risk of an impending fracture. This is great news because I feel a lot of discomfort on my right leg. It’s an annoying throbbing feeling all up and down my leg. It’s mostly at night or when it rains. I have a high pain tolerance so I just suck it up. I hate taking pain meds. When I first heard about a tumor in my left leg I was concerned that now I would have discomfort in both legs. That would suck! But from the sounds of it I should be okay, but I still have to be careful. No running or high impact exercise for me. That gets complicated as a mother of two young boys who love to play. It’s already sad that they know I have a “bad arm”. Because I have no lymph nodes on my right arm I always have to be careful so that I don’t develop Lymphedema. Now they have to be careful with my legs. That defenitely means there is no Skydiving in my future. ( I bought a package for Richard and I to jump out of a plane and the day we went it started to rain, now I really wont be able to do it).
Richard and I have really tried to stay positive. I have to be thankful that the Cancer likes my bones and not my organs. All of my organs are okay and I would like to keep it that way. Since it’s my bones I can continue with taking a pill instead of IV chemo. Is it wrong that I would like to keep my hair for a little longer? Once the Cancer spreads to your organs it gets complicated. The Ibrance I was taking kept me good for 2 years. But after a recurrence they switch your meds and there is no going back. That’s why research is so important. Stage 4 needs more treatment options!!
My body never liked the new chemo pill I was on. The Afinitor was causing a lot of issues with my stomach and I was losing weight. They had already lowered my dosage 3 times and then we switched to one day on and one day off. None of that seemed to work, so I was worried about having a recurrence since my body didn’t like this medication. I was also taking the Faslodex shots and the Zolodex shot. My Oncologist said those are my actual treatments since they are estrogen blockers. But that cocktail of meds is not for me. I will be starting a new chemo pill called Xeloda. The only positive is that I won’t have to get the Faslodex or Zolodex shots every month. Xeloda will keep my ovaries suppressed and will keep me in chemically induced menopause. I just pray that my body can handle this medication and it will keep me N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease) for many, many years.
Ironically enough, August 22nd marks my 4 year Cancerversary. I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I was diagnosed and now I am on my 4th attempt of trying to keep this cancer at bay. I still have a lot of living to do and I am really trying to stay hopeful. This pandemic is really taking a toll on me and it’s definitely not helping my cause. I start Radiation this Wednesday, August 5th. Praying for no side-effects and for my immune system to stay strong so that I can stay healthy during this Covid pandemic. I will be starting the chemo pill in a few weeks and also need my immune system strong. Please wear your masks and be considerate of others.