Saturday, October 13, 2012

don't freak out

Have you heard the supposed ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times?"

Things just got a little more interesting around here.

The routine MRI I had on October 5 revealed a 20mm lesion in my cerebellum. 


My oncologist and another from whom I got an unofficial second opinion are very optimistic that this thing can be easily zapped with stereotatic radiosurgery (also called Cyber or Gamma knife surgery), which isn't surgery at all but a very precise form of radiation. Treatments are few (between 1 and 5 sessions) and cause very few side effects. 

It's a really weird feeling knowing I have a cancerous mass in my brain. It does explain all the falling down (the cerebellum controls balance). I've always been clumsy but the last few months have been ridiculous.

I'm having a harder time dealing with the fact that the cancer has returned. I've been in remission, or NED, for five years. It's become easy to entertain the fantasy that the cancer was gone for good. My oncologist has even mused about that possibility.

This relatively little (I'm assured it's small by medical standards) tumour is a sobering wake-up call. I have Stage 4 breast cancer. That is always going to be true.

Still, I continue to be lucky. Herceptin came onto the market in time to save my life. Ottawa is only one of three Canadian cities to have Cyber knife technology and that is only as of this summer. Time is once again on my side.

So please join me in not freaking out (or in only freaking out a little bit). Life around here continues as normal (or at least our version of it). The day after finding out about the tumour I joined Weight Watchers. How mundanely optimistic is that?

I'll know more once I meet with the radiation oncologist. Meanwhile, I really want this t-shirt:



I'd order it, except that  Ihopefully would only get to wear it a couple of times before I'd have to change "have" to "had." I don't want to waste my money.

22 comments:

Average Jane said...

I will happily join you in not freaking out. And be here in case you feel like freaking out just a tiny bit.

Annbac9 said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. You are so brave.

Teresa Rhyne said...

Not freaking out. Not freaking out. Not freaking out. But...definitely thinking of you and wishing you the best. I can see where the t-shirt would be tempting. But your brain seems to have processed that correctly--it would be a short term investment.

bibliogrrl said...

Not freaking out because you told not to. Thinking about you and your guys and sending good vibes.

Anonymous said...

Ok. I will not freak out with you. I will, however, keep breathing with you. Stay strong and remain positive. You are a force to reckon with. You are a remarkably encouraging person. I will not freak out with you.
~Virginia

sassymonkey said...

Not freaking out. But if you need to freak out, I'm here.

Delaney said...

Damn, damn, damn...deep breath...but DAMN. Okay...these were rogue cells that have taken 5 years to grow, and now you're going to obliterate them, and that will be IT! I know of a woman who is HER2+, had liver mets, then was NED for 2 or 3 years, then had 2 brain mets and had gamma knife, and now has been NED for 7 years, and has even gone off Herceptin. You can do it too!!

laurie said...

Thanks so much to each of you. Each of you comments remind me that I'm not doing this alone. And Delaney - thank you thank you thank you for sharing you friend's story. I'm going to be repeating that one like a mantra.

Finola said...

Hey, have been thinking of you all weekend since reading this, and am sending all my positive energy your way. You are so strong and amazing. Many hugs to you and your family.

zoom said...

Laurie, I have to say, one of the things I love about you is how you manage a potential crisis by looking at the up side. It would be so EASY to freak out, if you were inclined that way. But you just harness up the best of your energy and get ready for the ride!

Denise said...

What "zoom" said here, yes! Yes, that's exactly what I was thinking and how I always think about you. It's who you are and I love that about you.

I'm proud to be not freaking out right beside you.

xo!

laurie said...

Well, I might have freaked out a little today but tomorrow will be different.

Thandi said...

It WILL be a waste of money! Optimism and no freaking out!

Rita Arens said...

I always freak out. I will resist the urge to freak out. Thinking of you!

Facing Cancer Together said...

Good luck with the radiologist appointment. I'm glad Ottawa has the technology you need, and that no one is freaking out - just gearing up to blast it away. Wishing you the best, Catherine

Marianna said...

You sound like a very pragmatic and "let's just deal with this" person.

I love your reason for not getting the t-shirt.

Sending you healing thoughts and in the words of one of those Star Trek guys, "May the (healing) force be with you.

Lene said...

You are my hero. Thanks to Delaney for making me freak out less. Which I wasn't doing, except maybe a little.

Anything you need.

laurie said...

Thank you all for being my own little support group.

Diana Troldahl said...

Got here via Lene's blog, just wanted to lend my support.

I say, get the t-shirt. A little fabric paint and an iron will allow you to cross out that 'have' and write 'had' above it. :-}

You are in my heart.

Diana Troldahl

Janne (Lene's l'il sis) said...

Sending tons of positive and healing thoughts your way!!

RAJ said...

Got here from Lene's post too. No freaking out is the way to go. Love the T-shirt. Stay strong. You can do this. Sending you strength and best wishes. Take care of YOU!
:) Rena

laurie said...

Wow. I'm just overwhelmed by your individual and collective kindness. Each comment warms and bolsters me. Thank you.