Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Fear of Recurrence

This is the last weekend of the summer so I made sure to enjoy it.  Yesterday, I headed up to Mohegan Sun Casino, won some money playing slots and  bought myself something I've wanted for awhile. This morning, I headed up to the Elephant's Trunk outdoor flea market and reveled in aisles of hidden treasures and tchochkes. My last pit stop was Stew Leonard's--a farmer's market-like grocery store that Connecticut is famous for. I have good reason to celebrate by having some fun because my doctor got blood work results back last week, which confirmed so far, I'm cancer-free.

Now that my treatment is done, I'm constantly feeling for suspicious lumps and bumps or searching the internet for the symptoms of cancer recurrence. Apparently, the most common places breast cancer rears its ugly head again is in the lungs, the liver or the brain. A couple weeks ago, I kept feeling a pain on my right side and was thoroughly convinced that it was cancer of the liver. But when I found out you lose your appetite and drop weight if you have liver cancer, I knew I couldn't have it because I have NO PROBLEM eating.

I read the survival statistics for my particular stage of breast cancer at the five-year mark and they say I have a 49 percent to 67 percent chance of making it. Every once in awhile I'll get stuck in a mode of fear and start obsessing about these grim facts. Then I realize all I can do is pop a Tamoxifin pill  every day that is supposed to suppress estrogen, cross my fingers and carry on.  I reason that yes, cancer could come back at anytime. But right now, I have my health back and I will never take that for granted again. So why not enjoy feeling normal as much as I can? The seasons change this week. Nothing ever stays the same, so cease the day!

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