June 10, 1970 -September 5, 2015
“I’m sorry, the biopsy was positive for cancer.” As I sat, numb, the words processed slowly. My doctor explained that I had the ‘best kind’ of cancer, DCIS, which was noninvasive with a high cure rate. This type of cancer was NOT going to kill me…
After my initial diagnosis, I decided to be aggressive and have a bilateral mastectomy. I took every test available and went to all the best hospitals in the country, to make sure I did the ‘right’ treatments. I was told chemotherapy was more likely to kill me than to help me. Radiation was not recommended either, considered unnecessary. However, after the mastectomy, I was told that NOW the cancer WAS invasive. I was assured that I still had done everything in my power to prevent a recurrence. It was highly unlikely. The growth was less than 1cm. No worries, deep breath, CARPE DIEM!
Fast forward five years… While vacationing in beautiful Pebble Beach for Thanksgiving, I noticed something was wrong. I slept all day and couldn’t eat a thing. My side ached, not excruciating pain, but enough to notice. I brushed it off for a few days until I returned home to North Carolina. I was pretty sure my gall bladder was bad. My general physician agreed that that was likely and ordered an ultrasound.
“I’m sorry, the ultrasound showed that your liver is saturated with tumors.” WHAT?? How did that happen?? I had a 2% chance of cancer recurring. I was the 2%.
The cancer has now spread to my bones, brain, and spinal cord fluid. The cancer in the latter is called Leptomeningeal Carcinoma, 2% of breast cancer patients get this. I am the 2%.
After chemotherapy and an experimental full brain and spinal radiation (that nearly did me in), I was told that treatment was not viable. Hospice was recommended. I’m currently seeking another opinion from MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. I’m not afraid to die, but I’m just not ready YET.
Less than 2% of people will survive 5 years with my cancer…I will be the 2%.