I went for my mammogram a few weeks ago. As anyone who has had breast cancer will tell you, it’s a little nerve wracking. I’m in year six (6) post cancer. Now most people would be doing a “happy dance” to be 5 years+ cancer free, I’m not one of them. You see my last dance with the Big “C”, I was diagnosed 6 years after my first dance. I went into this mammogram cautiously optimistic.
Once treatment is complete with cancer, you still have lingering effects. It’s like it wants to continually acknowledge it was a part of you. “Hey Carey, remember me?” Did you forget? Well, here’s a chest spasm from the radiation to remind you? Will weight gain remind you? How about medication that will debilitate your ability to walk? Let’s not even talk about trying to walk up stairs. Better yet, that same medication depletes your body of estrogen which for the past 5 years gives you UTI’s that go directly into sepsis. Now do you remember? Ahh, the Big “C”, the gift that keeps on giving.
I’ve seen my oncologist a few times a year to “check in” post cancer. As soon as he would walk into the room, I would tell him I wanted off the estrogen blocker, telling him how much I hated the side effects. He wanted me to take it for 10 years. ☹ It got to the point where he would walk in and say No before I had a chance to badger him – LOL. We did this for 5 years, until this past December. I was to the point where my quality of life was miserable. I was walking like an 80-year-old person. There were days when I had to literally crawl up the stairs. Every day I felt another UTI developing. It was a constant battle to try and feel “normal”.
My last visit was in December, I went to the appointment determined to get off the medication. I told him my quality of life was suffering, I did not want to live like this anymore. I gave it 5 years, that was all I was willing to give. He agreed! He told me I could stop taking the medication at the end of January. Hip, Hip Hooray!
It’s been almost three months since I quit the meds, and I can’t believe how my life has changed. I no longer have leg spasms. Walking is no longer a burden but an enjoyment. I ran up my stairs yesterday, yes, I ran. (As a side note, I’ll always have chest spasms due to the radiation but in the grand scheme of things, no big deal). My UTI’s have cleared up and I’m back in the pool swimming three days a week. Whoop! Whoop!
Back to the mammogram. Since I’ve been feeling so much better, I had a little trepidation about going. I was worried that life might say, Carey you know how I like to turn things on a dime. This was my six-year mammogram, was life going to throw me another curve ball?
Checked in and wearing the requisite gown, I wait to be called back. Breathe, Carey, just breathe. Walking into the room, I say to the technician: “This will be a quick, as I only have one breast – lol!” She laughs. It’s always good to start a test with humor. Test complete and now the wait.
I got my results yesterday, I’m clear! I passed the six-year mark! To be honest, I will feel home free after next year when I hit the seven-year mark but for right now, in this moment, life is absolutely wonderful! #savingteets #byebyecancer #happy