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Just a thought

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On that subject .......

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Kitt

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I have met a lot of wonderful people here on GA over the last couple months. Most of you have welcomed me with open arms and hearts. Time for me to open up a bit more for you guys and answer the unasked questions about some of the things i have said. I am pretty open about most things in my life, and I think its pretty important to be very open about this one. If it helps even one person to get through a tough time it is more than worth it!

 

Last summer i went for my annual boob smushing ( what my circle of friends call our annual mammograms). The results were not my usual smile from the doc and a "see you next year". That visit started what has been the most difficult year of my life.

 

The short version? Biopsy, then surgery, then a period of hell called waiting for the pathology results, chemo, radiation, and finally a maintenance program of an estrogen inhibitor medication which will probably be for the rest of my life.

 

I think the worst was the waiting on results at each step. My mother died almost a decade ago from complications of breast cancer, so I was intimately familiar with every set of possibilities having taken her to every appointment from finding the lump thru the day she passed. Believe me, knowing did NOT make it any easier.

 

Chemo .....well thank the powers that be that most of you will never experience it . Basically its pumping the human body full of poison in hopes it kills off the cancer before it gets you. Radiation- not a whole lot better. No sick to your stomach etc but the burning on the surface can get.....difficult to deal with. The most common misconception is that its biggest side effect beyond the fatigue it causes is the equivalent of sun poisioning. I have on one or two occasions been stupid enough to stay out in the sun long enough to blister- it is NOT the same! Not everyone burns as badly as I did but it is a possibility. If these sorts of burns were to have been caused buy getting clumsy with a pot of boiling water most emergency rooms would send the person to a burn unit.

 

A few thoughts for people out there with loved ones facing this and other forms of cancer..........

 

Women - don't I repeat DON"T get 'too busy' to have your annual! Mine found the problem at stage 1, the best shot at a cure. The tumor was still so small the surgeon could not feel it and a special ultrasound guided biopsy was needed. Yes they are uncomfortable but soooooo worth the head start they can give you in this fight.

 

Men and friends - BE PATIENT with the lady going thru it. Our bodies are being messed with, chemistry being totally thrown out of whack, hormones going wacky, not to mention the twisting in our heads. Hold us - hug us - and don't go telling us we are being ridiculous even if we are!

 

Actually that can pretty much go for any cancer patient.

 

Please note, I said patient, NOT victim. I have no intention of being a victim in all of this.

 

Each step of the way various health care professionals told me once I hit the five year mark with no relapses I can call myself cured. No one seemed to agree on when you start counting tho. The surgeon called the day he removed the tumor day one since theoretically the cancer was gone at that point. Each doctors office along the way had similar viewpoints. So I chose Feb 1 as my "New Years Day" this year. I had my last radiation treatment on Jan 31, and started counting my 5 years the next morning. 143 days down, 1682 to go.

 

Anyone who wants a little extra support through something similar feel free to pm me. I know I'm really just a stranger, typed words on a screen, but sometimes its easier to talk to someone you don't have to face every day and who had been through similar hardships. I wouldn't have made it without losing my mind if it hadn't been for a very good friend I had met in a chat room years ago. The fact that I have never seen him does not change the fact that he was there for me every step and I love him for it!

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Welcome to the club, Kitt, of those who are counting the days and the years of survival.  I hope that I will be around to cheer you on when you have passed the five year milestone in the clear.

 

You are very generous in offering your support to others and I will do the same for those who have (or whose man has) prostate cancer.

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Thank you Mike.  I found when I was going for the treatments that people who haven't actually been thru it just didn't quite get it, no matter how hard they tried to understand.  Hopefully I can be there for someone the way Dave has for me!

 

I would like nothing more than for you to join the party my daughter is planning for that day! Even if it is just on skype!

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Nothing slaps you down quicker than the word cancer.  I had a bout with it when my only child was a mere six weeks old.  They actually found it when I was checked during the first couple months of pregnancy, so they kept it from me until I went for my six week check up after the baby was born..  The called me three days later and told me to check into the hospital the next morning.  My husband was there when I got the call and if had not been, I don't know how I would have handled it.  He made arrangement for his mom to come take care of our new daughter and stayed with me the whole time I was in the hospital.  What was supposed to have been a simple procedure, turned out a little more complex.  No treatment, but I had to go for check ups every ninety days for a long period of time.  Because of the type I had, I can never undergo a hysterectomy unless it is imperative.  It is something about the rapid hormone change and type cancer I had.  So, I agree, if you haven't heard the ''C" word directed at you, it's a hellious feeling.

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Thank you Mike.  I found when I was going for the treatments that people who haven't actually been thru it just didn't quite get it, no matter how hard they tried to understand.  Hopefully I can be there for someone the way Dave has for me!

 

I would like nothing more than for you to join the party my daughter is planning for that day! Even if it is just on skype!

 

I tried to tell my male friends to be sure that they had their PSA checked annually.  I got strange reactions.  They don't want to have cancer and they apparently don't won't some doctor telling them they do.

 

I love parties!  Count me in.  I just need to figure out how to use Skype.  :P

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Well get to it mister! you only have  1682 days to figure it out!

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You're right, those who've not been touched by cancer know nothing - like me. So thanks for posting this Kitt, and keep on counting :)

As for the PSA, Mike, from docs I've spoken to there seem to be real issues about its reliability as a diagnostic with false positives and false negatives, never mind the ops done where none was needed - so it's all a bit confusing for guys as to what they should do for the best - until a better and more reliable test comes in :(

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The really important thing to remember Z is if someone you know is diagnosed, don't let your own fears get in the way. Its not contagious and this is when we need our friends the most!  And let us hope you can stay blissfully out of the loop!

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As another member of the club, I salute the courage of Kitt. As Mike said so well, we all live with the hope of overcoming cancer. Knowing how to accept our fate with good humor is the key to success and - most important -  always knowing that we are not alone helps a lot !

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