Along with the diagnosis of Metastatic Breast Cancer comes all sorts of questions from many. I'm sure most people would like to ask me a few, but, most of the time, I'm not on the receiving end of these questions. Shannon, my Mom and Dad and Victor are the ones frequently asked questions, and sometimes the questions are not all that pleasant and really don't have answers.
In an attempt to give them a break from these "not so pleasant" questions, I will answer them here.
Q: Is she going back to work?
A: Right now I am not really able to return to work, but as far as returning in the future, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I'm taking one day at a time. Right now my goal is to do everything I can to help the medicine do what it needs to do to tame the beast.
Q: When did she realize something was wrong.
A: Well, this is a tough question. I really didn't fully believe something was wrong until perhaps a couple weeks before I was officially diagnosed. The biggest red flags were the left side of my body having tingling and numbness and I coughed up blood two times (although no one in the emergency room was concerned). I did have some other things that were off, and as a general rule for myself if they bother me for more than two weeks I go to the doctor for them, and I did. Meanwhile, I'm sure you would like me to tell you I had things going on and I ignored them for months...really, that's not the case.
Q: Doesn't she get frequent scans?
Yes, I alternated between an MRI and a mammogram every 6 months, but it was only on my breast. It would only detect something in my breast and no where else. This was something I always worried about and questioned, because really, getting breast cancer in my breast was the least of my worries. What I did worry about has happened and it was not found until after I started having symptoms because it had traveled to my brain...very frustrating.
Q: Does she have brain cancer?
A. No, I do not have brain cancer. I have breast cancer that has spread (metastasized) throughout my body. Fortunately, breast cancer in the brain is actually easier to treat than brain cancer in the brain.
Q: How bad is it?
Well, it's bad enough, but, like most things in life, it could be worse. There is currently no cure for metastatic breast cancer, but it can be treated and that is what is happening now. I'm being treated primarily with oral chemotherapy and hoping with all my being that the yuck cells are being stopped in their tracks.
Q: What is her prognosis?
This, my friends, is probably one of the most common questions asked of my loved ones. It's also the one that is most upsetting and it's best not to ask, especially to those whom I love. Goodness gracious, I know most are curious what the answer to this question is, but who really knows, not even the doctors do. Unlike in the movies, the doctors do not tell me how long I have. I am sure that upon request from me they could give me an estimated time, however, I'm not the least bit interested in posing that question and again, who really knows? Each person and each circumstance is so individual that it's nearly impossible to make such a prediction, nor is it anyone's job to do so.
So my friends, my prognosis is that I'm living life to its fullest each and every day, facing this head on and doing all that is possible to be a part of this Earth for as long as I can.