Monday, March 12, 2012

Tests Please!

I opened my laptop this morning and found the inside covered in eyelashes. I can't fathom how chemo works... how it causes something in some part of your body to reach some crazy critical mass, be it eyelashes or armpit hair, to make them all fall out all in one day... weeks and months apart from each other. Why the public hair first and the eyelashes three months later?

Triple negative breast cancer has a 63% 3-year survival rate, if you get that far, you have a 77% 5-year survival rate and once you hit five years your chances go way up. So I wonder, and I was asking my oncologist, how the hell do you get through those five years and what diagnostic methods do they use to determine if you've developed a metastases so it can be dealt with quickly. According to her it's all symptomatic, if my hip hurts for a few weeks, they'd send me for an x-ray while with someone else they'd wait a bit. I'm under the impression that most cancers are not symptomatic until it's a bit late in the game, this is not reassuring to me.

With all the high-tech equipment out there, I want to know once a year or so that nothing sneaky is going on inside me. Oncologist cites statistics that doing scans doesn't change overall numbers, but I'm not concerned with the overall numbers, I'm concerned with me, my number.  I've had every invasive test in the book, one or five more isn't gonna kill me, so I think I need to find an oncologist with a different philosophy. I'm not afraid of the radiation from an MRI at this point, I'm afraid of cancer and I don't like those numbers.

I went for my pre-op physical today and my doctor said that she is going to call an oncologist she knows at the same hospital I'm using because she thinks he monitors more closely. Live and learn, I didn't think there would be so much difference in post-treatment care and monitoring, I figured everything was pretty standard. It seems there's always something new to figure out which is daunting.

On the upside, I've felt more and more awake and functional over the past few days. Actually got a few errands done and now fifth grade homework awaits and it's a little late to be starting homework, so it may not be pretty.

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