Monday, September 27, 2010

5/25 left - but then what?

It seems like the end is in sight. I started writing this post when I had about 9 treatments left and just kept having too much other stuff get in the way of finishing the update. Today however marks a nice milestone. Barring unforeseen circumstances I will be done in exactly one week. My last day is scheduled for October 4th. Originally it was estimated that I would have 25-28 treatments. Last Monday I met with my radiation oncologist and he confirmed that I will only be going through 25 total treatments. That's because the fancy machine they're using on me can vary the extent of radiation to give the more intense dose exactly where they want it. Had my insurance not covered the cost of the fancy machine they would need to radiate the whole area 28 times to get the maximum effect for certain high-risk parts of my body. Isn't it nice that this is all so clinical? Fortunately he even let it slip that I was "going to be just fine". Not that you want to read too much into it, but it's nice to hear that the doctor is confident that the treatment will work. But statistics suck. Because even if you try to focus on the positive there is always the other sliver. You know, the ones who don't make it. The ones we are all pretending won't be me. I guess ever since I found out that my cancer was classified as Stage IV it's been hard to just ignore that possibility. Sometime shortly after I was diagnosed I allowed myself to go through a mini phase of the fear, anger, grief, and mourning. But then I firmly planted my feet into the denial bucket. It was going to take a lot to move me out of that realm. I just stuffed all the emotions deep inside (just like Marge told Lisa to do). Somehow in the back of my mind I allowed myself to believe that I didn't want to waste a perfectly good summer (that actually rained more than it's fair share) by being a complete emotional basketcase. So I put on my Pollyanna face and moved forward like there was nothing wrong. And most of the time I feel great.

But here we are, close to the end of my triathlon from hell (surgery, chemo, radiation) and I've spent the past week worrying about things that never crossed my mind before. Silly things like: what if this didn't work? what if it comes back? what kind of treatment can I have if it recurs?

So for all my supporters who think that I'm kicking this thing's butt and making it look easy I guess there's the ugly truth - MOST of it's easy, but every once in a while you get a little head-trip that spins you for a loop and makes you look things up on the internet you wished you hadn't researched. Things like the fact that I really didn't want to know survival statistics if this thing comes back. And that I now can't expunge the knowledge that treatment options are VERY limited the second time around. So, don't go look it up, it was silly of me to do so, and you don't need that kind of stress. ;)

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