Let the "scanxiety" begin....ugh, it's that dreaded time of year when I get all my scans redone. I try very hard to remain calm, optimistic and hopeful - but let me tell you, it's pretty tough. I have come to realize that this scanxiety is something that will never go away. It doesn't matter how many times I have a good scan - the worry, doubt and fear all come creeping back in when it's time to be scanned again. Although I like to focus on how wonderful it will feel to get news that I am still in remission, that I can stay on my current treatment regimen, and that everything I have been through is paying off - I can't help but be terrified of the alternative. That the cancer is active again, that it's spread, that my medicines are no longer effective, that it's infiltrated my liver or brain.
My wonderful friend Meredith has taught me to try to think of the worst possible scenario and how I would handle that, and what would our plan be. That way, it takes away some of the fear of the unknown and you can try to help prepare yourself in some way should that be the news you receive. I have been spending some time thinking about this lately and trying to think about how my life could once again change in an instant when Dr. F delivers my scan results. Would I have to start chemo again? Would I need more radiation? Do I need to start new medications? What would the side effects of those be? Do I need to look into clinical trials? Last night as Mike and I laid in bed, I asked him that very question -"What would we do if the results show it has spread?" His response is just another example of why I am so blessed to have him love me. Without hesitation, he simply stated, "We would do anything we had to do to get you better."
Over the course of these past 11 months, I have been slowly adjusting to living a life with cancer. I have come to understand that I will deal with this disease and its effects in one way or another for the rest of my life. Fine - no problem - I can do that. I just want to remain stable. I pray that the disease is still stable, and that I can continue living my life as I am right now. Aside from a few minor things, I have very little side effects with my current treatment plan. I feel good about 90% of the time. I am enjoying being back at the gym and back to yoga classes. I look forward to returning to my job after my next surgery. I am able to travel and spend time with family and friends without worrying too much about how my body will hold up. So, I can't help but worry about these upcoming results changing all of this for me.
I used to say, "okay, I have cancer but hopefully I won't lose my hair", and then it went to "okay, I have to lose my hair but maybe I won't have to lose my breasts." Then it once again changed to, "well, I have to lose my breasts but please just let me still be able to have children." Sadly that statement was forced to transform once again into, "well, I can't have children but please just let me be stable and lead a long life with Mike." And of course "stability" is what I truly want - if I can't be cured (although I do still believe in miracles!), then I pray for stability - for a long, long time. But it all truly boils down to one thing - I can (and have) given up so, so much - and I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat if I knew it would allow me to lead a long and happy life with the people I love. But you see, no one can make such promises. None of us know what our future holds and how much time we have. The difference is that I never used to worry about dying before - I took it for granted that not everyone is afforded a long and healthy life like I assumed I would have. So, I have to make the conscious decision to try to release the worry and fear and give it up to God because I am not the one in control. All I can do is continue to live each day to the fullest and be grateful for each day.
With that said, I would sincerely appreciate as many prayers, healing thoughts, and uplifting words as you can possibly share right now. These times are very tough- not only myself, but for Mike, Mom, Doug and Jeff as we all anxiously await the results. Please pray that this disease is still in remission, that my spine is healing, that my organs are free and clear of disease, and that our anxiety and worry doesn't consume us while we wait for the results. My tests are scheduled for this Tuesday and Wednesday and we won't receive the results until the following Thursday, which is March 1st. You have no idea how much your prayers, thoughts, and comments help lift us up and keep our spirits high during these times!
Thankfully, Mike and I will have a great distraction from my scan results. We leave for New Orleans on Thursday morning! We are actually going to attend a breast cancer conference but we will have plenty of extra time to just enjoy the city on our own. We are such great travel partners and always have the best time when we are exploring somewhere new with each other. Exactly one year ago was the last trip we took by ourselves when we visited Seattle just a few weeks before I was diagnosed. Check out some images from our trip here. We had the best time and I am sure New Orleans will be no different!
Friday evening through Sunday morning we will be attending the Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer. Young women under the age of forty come from all over the world to attend this conference. There are excellent guests speakers, many of which are leading researchers in the field of breast cancer. There are numerous break out sessions dealing with everything from integrative medicine, an update on the latest metastatic research, and even sessions solely for male caregivers. We are both looking forward to learning a lot and I also hope to meet other young women with metastatic disease such as myself.
Of course, we will find plenty of time for some beignets at Cafe du Monde, grabbing a great cajun meal, and checking out the sites of the French Quarter. We are really looking forward to it. Thanks in advance for all of your thoughts and prayers for my upcoming tests - I will be sure to update the blog next week once I get the results!
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