I heard from a high school friend recently

IMG_1556I heard from a high school friend recently. She wrote to me to tell me that she’d recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Shw went on to tell me that she’d been following my cancer blog, which had been sorely neglected. I kept meaning to update. I wanted to make time to write and tell everyone that I had completed treatment and was in good health. My husband urged me to post a small entry, at the very least.

I wrote in an early entry that if my blog helped one person, it would have made me happy. It did help my friend, who was diagnosed after she discovered that her symptoms were similar to mine. I’d saved her life, she said.

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week wondering why this is happening. As a recovering Catholic, I am quite familar with the concepts of guilt and retribution, and as illogical as it sounds, I guess some small part of me still thinks I’d caused this to happen, that I’d brought it on myself.

It turns out that breast cancer metastasizes into bone cancer more often than one might think. It’s not a rare occurrence. I didn’t know this. I didn’t know that cancer like mine can be treated as a chronic condition and controlled. I didn’t know these things, despite the reading and research I’d done. I suppose I thought that I was done with the whole experience. I am not, so I will continue to share what I learn at this particular rodeo. Science is discovering new things about cancer every day.

During the past three weeks, I’ve had an X-ray, CT scan, a bone scan, an MRI, a bone biopsy and an annual pelvic exam that was only slightly less awful than a root canal. Later this month, I will have my ovaries removed. The focus of my treatment at this stage is to completely remove all sources of estrogen from my body. I am told that the ovary removal process is a very simple outpatient procedure. I’ll be in and out of the office in a couple of hours.

While this is happening, my daughter is starting her freshman year of college. This round of the battle, coupled with the ache of missing her, is exhausting me. My faith in her to put her head down and get through her studies is what keeps me going. I am also still working at my part-time job, where they have been wonderful at making concessions for me and trying to help in any way they can.

So many people have been where I am now. I wish I knew how to get through like they have.

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