No, I don’t really feel brave in any of this. I’m just doing what follows naturally from these facts:
- There are people (including myself) who would like me to stay alive for a while yet.
- The cancer I have is fairly common and not as lethal as some, and it was caught early.
- Breast cancer research has been well funded in recent years. I therefore have access to treatment protocols that have been tested on other people with cancers similar to mine.
- My best chance of staying alive is to follow those. No need for new or exotic treatment.
- surgery (already done)
- chemotherapy (going on now until about mid-June)
- radiation (six weeks)
- and then hormonal treatment (five years)
All of these treatments together improve my odds such that I should have only about an 8% chance of this cancer recurring in the next ten years. (“What happens after ten years?” I asked Dr L, my oncologist. “We don’t know – we don’t have any studies.”)
There was never any chance that I would not follow the best medical advice that I could find (and I have some great expertise on tap, both locally and remotely). In the immortal words of Randall Munro: “I take my weapons from science. Because they work, bitches.”
All that being the case: No, I don’t feel especially brave. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other, facing the next task before me, to stay alive for the sake of people I care about. Some of what I’m going through sucks royally, but it doesn’t really matter whether it’s easy or hard. It’s just… this thing I’ve gotta do.
my breast cancer story (thus far)