As tough as I seem on the outside, there are times when keepining a positive attitude and a stiff upper lip gets difficult.
I have to go for various tests every couple of months (i.e., PET Scans, C/T Scans, etc.), and although the tests alone are not painful, the amount of mental stress they cause, might be worse than pain.
This past Saturday I had a C/T scan scheduled. Although I had many offers by people to take me, I declined, as I know it's not a difficult test and didn't want to have anyone waste their time taking me.
A little bit of nervousness set in on my drive to the scan, but I knew I was being silly. Once there, the test only takes 10 minutes, and I was out the door. However, leaving the hospital I ended up having an emotional breakdown. I cried. Not because of the test, but because of why I have to keep going for these tests, and the time spent waiting to get an "all is clear" from the doctor.
Although every doctor I've ever seen or talked to doesn't like to talk in terms of "odds", of course I've done my own investigating and according to the Livestrong site:
Like stage II, stage III breast cancer tumors can be classified in one of three conditions: (1) the tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, but the nodes are not attached to each other; (2) the tumor is smaller than 5 cm, but the cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes and the nodes are growing into each other or the surrounding tissue; (3) the tumor is smaller than 5 cm and the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes above the collarbone. According to the Mayo Clinic, the five-year survival rate of a patient diagnosed with stage III breast cancer is between 54 and 67 percent.
Now to some, those percentages may sound pretty darn good, but to this 38 year old woman, those numbers SUCK. Now to clarify these numbers too, my doctor tried to explain that the average age of a breast cancer patient is 60 years old, and that many of the patients may have died from another ailment, it's not just because of the breast cancer.
I don't care what they say, I wake up everyday thinking about my dumb cancer. I hate that as much as I want to pretend like it never happened, it did.
I've been cancer free since February of 2010, so just over two years. In that time, I've had a "spot" on my lung that after two failed biopsies and a collapsed lung, they are just going to "watch". Let's hope they are watching it VERY GOOD. I've heard from others that I should be requesting a scan of my brain, since that is one of the most common places breast cancer spreads to. Yes, I guess I'd want to know if it spread, but at the same time, it's the scariest thing in the world actually knowing you have cancer. I couldn't see it, feel it or have any way of knowing it was there. It just was.
I can't say it enough - EVERYTHING ABOUT CANCER SUCKS!
I promise not to dwell on it, but every now and then, I just have to say it out loud, then I bury it back inside. I know that I'll be ok, whatever is thrown my way, because I am a fighter and I refuse to give up. If my cancer comes back, it's going to get another ass-kicking. You can bet on it.
This was an extremely hard and personal post for me. I thought about not posting it after typing it up, but I feel admitting my fear, it may help me overcome it.