Friday, March 28, 2014

Metaversary, Cancerversary, whatever.

As of a few weeks ago, it's been two years since I was diagnosed as metastatic (and it will soon be six years since my first diagnosis of breast cancer).  It's also been a year since I quit working, which is SO hard to believe.

Recently I was asked by someone, "So where do things stand with your health compared to when you were diagnosed two years ago?"  Interesting question I thought I'd try to answer for everyone, just to give the big picture.


  • My liver is in much better shape than it was in when I was diagnosed.  My cancer is "perfectly chemo-responsive" my doc says, so chemo has helped a lot.  There are still many tumors there, but nothing that is compromising the function of my liver like it was when I was diagnosed.  This is HUGE because cancer's effects on organs is EVERYTHING.
  • I think there are more small tumors in my bones, and they have definitely caused me some problems here and there (crutches and radiation to my hip last year).  Because of these tumors, particularly those in my hips, I'm somewhat restricted in my physical activity.  I have to be careful to avoid anything that might cause a broken hip (falls on ice, for example) or stress fractures.  Long power walks, running, or riding a horse are all too risky.  Two years ago I didn't have these restrictions, so I'm thankful we took out trip to Costa Rica last spring when I could fully participate in climbing volcanoes and zip lining.
  • My energy level on a daily basis is probably a bit lower than when I was diagnosed, but I'm also writing this on the "tired day" of my chemo cycle, so my perception might be skewed.
  • Because I stopped working last year, my stress level is MUCH lower than it was two years ago.  When I need to rest, I can.  I have flexibility to take my time, and do what I want on my normal-energy days.  The everyday hum of "Oh shit I have to get these things done!" is gone for the most part, and that makes a great impact on my body, I think.
There you go - a comparison of now and then.  

Right now, I'm still on the same chemo I've been on since Nov/Dec.  It seems to be working, and we're going to stay on it until either a) it isn't working anymore, or b) side effects become an issue.  When that time comes, I'll start the protein-blocking drug we've got waiting in the wings.  I'm meeting with my doc every two weeks to evaluate so we know when it's the right time to make the switch.  Despite still being on chemo, my hair is slowly starting to fill back in.  I'm still sporting scarves, but by summer I think I'll be back to showing off my bleach blonde!

I promise my next entry will have a little more humor in it.  Low energy days don't give me much creative spark!