Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chasing Cancer

Two years after cancer treatment " ended" and here I sit on my forty- eighth birthday,  waiting to have a bone scan. Just when one might think that cancer had long been put behind me, it seems to peek out at me from behind the bushes, teasing me with fearful symptoms and endless testing. On one hand, doctors say there is no evidence of disease, N.E.D., yet on the other hand they say that when a new symptom presents itself (like this nagging back pain) I should bring it to the attention of my doctors and pursue diagnostics. Nothing is dismissed. The average person might be able to let symptoms go by without really giving them  a second thought. I, on the other hand, immediately fear that cancer has returned.
And apparently, my doctor has concerns too. Why else perform all these tests? I have had friends recently diagnosed with metastasis of their breast cancer. Liver and bones, lungs, ovaries...being the usual suspects.  Women who were diagnosed about the same time as I was, whose lives are forever are being lived on borrowed time.  Nobody can tell them they will survive. They thought  they HAD survived! Just like I am thinking now!  But AM I?  Nobody knows for sure.  These women went through chemo oust as I did. But invasive cancer has a way of making a reappearance just when you thought it was gone.   And so this is how I am spending my birthday. A two hour trip through rush hour morning traffic, a 3 hour wait while the nuclear radio tracer makes it's way through my bloodstream, and (hopefully )  a cancer free "benign" result next week .  Maybe this back pain will resolve itself.  Maybe I am just getting old.   Why put myself through  all of this? Maybe I am a little more cautious than your average survivor because my initial diagnosis was made too late to save my breast, and maybe I am not as trusting of the diagnostic process.  Things get missed, as I know all too well!

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