Thursday, April 14, 2016
Okay, I have to be fast because I think my son needs the computer to write a paper . . .
First, sad news. My aunt has breast cancer---the same kind that I had, only hers is Grade 2, and we are thinking probably Stage 2 (?). She hasn't seen the oncologist or surgeon yet, so I don't know what they are going to recommend. I mentioned her in a previous post--she is the aunt I talked to at my sister's wedding the day after I saw my oncologist. It seems so unfair--she has already been through so much. But, I was listening to a talk from the most recent General Conference today, and it talked about how life is never fair, and the greatest evidence of that was the life of Jesus Christ; He was perfect, and yet he suffered all the pains and afflictions that we do, and more. And, yet, when the eternities are factored into the equation, it becomes perfectly fair, because our Heavenly Father knows and loves us all, and will turn all things for our good.
I think I need to talk to my oncologist---starting to wonder if maybe there is a genetic link after all . . . just not BRCA 1 or 2. I tested negative for both of those. My kids better be on the look-out---cancer seems to really run in my family!!! (And heart disease and blood sugar issues in my husband's . . . my poor kids seem to be doomed.)
Secondly, I had a mammogram today. The radiologist said it looks good--the same as my last one, which is good news. I have to say, having a mammogram on the unaffected side isn't fun, but having it on the affected side is pure torture. All that scar tissue---it really hurts during the mammogram, and it's still sore now. If someone hugs me too hard, I just might cry. But I don't care how much it hurts--if it comes back, I want to catch it as early as I can---it would at least buy me a little more time.
I just read my last few posts about fatigue. Yeah, still have that. It is amazing how much more tired I am than before. I have had some people tell me that it's just because I'm over 40 now, and maybe that's true, but it is so much worse than it was before chemo that I really think the chemo is a big factor. I would like to think it will get better, but if I'm still this tired this far out, I'm thinking I need to just accept that I am going to have some limitations I didn't have before, as annoying as it is. Whether chemo or old age, I don't suppose it matters--I'm just pooped!!!
Other interesting changes from the chemo: I have a hearing loss in both ears. I suspected as much because after chemo, it seemed like I was always having to ask people to repeat themselves. I finally had a hearing screening at a Health Fair, and ta-da. Yep. Hearing loss in the higher frequencies, which is what they typically see in chemo patients. I also still struggle with chemo-brain. It is getting better, but it's a struggle. Learning never used to be terribly hard for me (except for Math and Science), but now I struggle to learn new things of any sort. I get distracted and forget things. I struggle with reading comprehension more than I ever did before--I often have to read the same sentences several times before I begin to understand what I read. I have a really hard time remembering what I have read or heard or done or said or need to do . . . the list goes on. It is frustrating, but I guess that's the price I get to pay for being alive. So, I'm grateful, in spite of the frustration.
I have been thinking about how this experience has changed me . . . I can't even really describe how much. I still would never choose to go through it voluntarily, but there has been so much growth. I can't remember if I mentioned this in a previous post, but one of the ladies I talked to just after my diagnosis told me that if she could go back and re-live her life without going through the cancer, she wouldn't do that because she has learned so much. I am beginning to see what she means, although right now, there's always a little "disclaimer" line of fine-print in my head that says "as long as it doesn't come back." If I make it 5 years plus and it still hasn't come back, I will probably feel the same way about it.
Well, I need to go put my super-cute little boy to bed. He just came and told me he wanted me to tuck him in. I should have done it a long time ago, but I just ran out of steam and gave up. But, I better get up and get it done.
P.S. He just came in all excited because he found the sparkly toothpaste I just bought for him. He is thrilled. So cute. I love how easy it can be to please little kids. They are so pure and innocent. No wonder Jesus says we need to become like little children. :-)