Caution: unless you've been a cancer patient, are related to a cancer patient, or really want to know the inner workings of cancer, don't read this. You'll want to leave your computer yelling, "T.M.I.! Too much information!" You've been warned.
I had a chance to talk to a good friend last week about how hard it is to be around a group of people who didn't witness my cancer experience. It's like it never happened. I think a lot of people would be grateful for that, but not me. It's too much a part of who I am. And it's not like I can fill them in. For one, I can't talk about it without getting choked up. Secondly, they didn't experience the feeling of, "Is Kelly going to die?" They didn't witness me without hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes. They didn't see me pulling all of my strength together just to get to the bathroom. It's just not something that you can know without being there.
Anyway, if you have kept up with my cancer experience you know that I've been menopausal for some time now. I made the choice to stop taking Lupron this Spring, (which kept me menopausal), because it was interfering too much with my quality of life. I knew at that time that there was a chance of me getting my period again, but it was about 50%/50%. This was against the advice of my oncologist, who wanted me to stay on Lupron until February 2010. (My 2 year mark.)
I had some spotting a few months ago and thought it had come back, but it turned out to be nothing. I had some spotting yesterday, and then a bit more, and found myself on floor in the living room crying. And now you're probably saying, huh?
My tumor was ER/PR+, which means that it fed off estrogen and progesterone, which means that the more estrogen in my body, the greater the chance for recurrence. Now, this chance is a whopping 3-4%, which is why I took the risk going off of Lupron in the first place, but that doesn't mean that the presence of estrogen in my body doesn't scare the living daylights out of me. It does.
It also brings into question whether or not to have children. When I was menopausal it wasn't an option- easy choice. Now, as it looks like I will have the option, I have to decide whether or not it's worth the risk. Chris and I have already decided that we will prevent pregnancy before the 5 year mark- the time when I move from "remission" to "cured." After that time (Feb. 2013) it may be technically safe, but will still be scary. Not to mention I'll be 36 years old and those lovely downs syndrome genes are more likely to rear their ugly heads.
Right now I'm just scared. I haven't been to a doctor in over 3 months (which for a cancer patient is an eternity.) I'm not around the medical team that I know loves me and will do everything they can to help me. The only person here that saw me during cancer is Chris. And, though I feel like most everyone will be happy that I'm able to have kids, I'm terrified to be going back to "normal." There is no normal for me. It's pre-cancer, cancer, and post-cancer. While pre-cancer seemed healthy, it wasn't, and anything biological that reminds me of that time, is just plain scary.
Who needs ghosts and goblins?