I have been exceptionally busy trying to get things done in the last few weeks as coincidentally, my annual mammogram and ultrasound for my breast surgeon and the next whole body bone scan and ct scan fell due at the same time, so unfortunately my Christmas shopping and holiday organisation has been put on the back burner for just a while.
My scans have gone very well indeed and are showing that my Advanced (secondary, metastatic – I never know which one to use) disease is stable with no new growth at all in any of the current spots and also no new places of concern. This is indeed a wonderful result and is a very good way to be moving forward and continuing to “live” with my squatters (though each and every day I work on evicting them to never return or be heard from again – it is just impossible to know if that will ever happen.. only time will tell if I can find myself way on the other side of all of the disease expectations). With this comforting information in my possession, you can imagine the anxiety that hit for just a while when I was told that I had a lump in my right breast that was found on the mammogram and then confirmed on the ultrasound. This meant that I had a date with another ultrasound for a core biopsy to identify my new little visitor.
Immediately you begin to wonder how and why it is there and that if the rest of the cancer is stable and not growing, why does his little guy not fit the nice and neat current description of the rest of my cancer. The answer is seriously simple.. Because it can !!! It is indeed a new primary breast cancer and is not part of my original primary or secondary breast cancer.
The issue was that I have been through treatment for a primary “early” breast cancer nine years ago and my mind began to work through every single scenario to do with treatment. I really was not too bothered about the fact that I have a new cancer as it is small and has now been removed (9th December) It was the possibility of treatments that may be thrown my way that had occupied my mind. But in the end I have let that go as it will take up to two weeks to get the full pathology reports back. Then and only then will we be able to discuss what treatment will be required to try to ensure this little newbie does not move in and join my advanced cancer and give me two battle fronts to work on. As it stands right now while I write this it is unknown if there will be chemo, radio – both, one, none?? I just have to patiently sit and wait until the interrogation of my tumor is complete and it gives up all of its secrets!!!
So I am in a position of waiting.. Waiting for results.. Waiting for treatment plans.. Waiting to see if I can indeed book my mid year holiday. Things I am not waiting for.. Will it be gone…. Will it come back.. Will it cause more trouble… These are things I cannot foresee or predict so apart from a fleeting thought will indeed not give it any further time. I will concentrate on one step at a time and deal with each and every one as it arrives at my door.
I am really very lucky.
I am lucky that I check my breasts each month as my first primary cancer was found by me and confirmed by doctors as I was only 38 and well under the screening program age.
I am lucky that 8 years later that I had a cracked rib along with a nasty long-lived cough as it was responsible for us finding my advanced cancer (don’t know how much longer it would have been before we would have discovered its secret).
I am lucky that since getting breast cancer way back in 2004 that I am now within the breast screening program of annual mammograms and that is what has found my second primary as it was quite small and could not be felt at all.
I may not be lucky to have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the first place but the decisions that have been made over the years have meant that I am still here and still living. I live every single day doing the best that I can do and I am so very thankful that since I have zero choice in this since it arrived on my front door step, that I have the opportunity to live with advanced cancer rather than the alternative of no life at all. I live with hope and love and as long as I have breath in my body will continue to do so.