Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Civil Wars


"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory.

I love only that which they defend."

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers



It really does feel like a civil war has been raging in my body for the last two years. Always on the defensive, drawing up the battle lines, the occasional preemptive attack, periods of defeat and despair, rallying again and finally agreeing on a truce.

I was rudely reminded at my oncology check up on Tuesday that truces can be temporary. At some point I data dumped my statistics of recurrence within 5-10years of diagnosis. There is still a chance that those insidious rouge cancer cells will break the ceasefire. It shocked me akin to having a bucket of ice water dumped on my head. How could I have forgotten that?


We revisited the option of removing my ovaries and a different adjuvant therapy which, newly released research suggests, could lower my recurrence risk factor by about 6%. I have several months to decide but I know that I'll decline again. My last bone density scan revealed that I already have appalling bone density levels for my age. Going into permanent menopause 15 years too early and taking a medication that strips bones of calcium is a recipe fraught with fractures. I just can't see that it's worth it.


We also discussed my headaches & dizzy spells. It took all of two seconds for my Onc to decide to order a CT scan of my brain, if for no other reason, than to provide peace of mind that it's not a brain tumour. And so, next Friday and the ensuing weekend, I'll be enjoying another bout of scanxiety, hoping that it shows up something as simple as a middle ear or sinus infection.

I've spent the last few days feeling a bit numb about the whole 'odds of survival' chat and not really wanted to discuss it much. I feel like a bit of a fraud talking about it when I'm currently in remission.
It seems completely wrong to moan about my own what ifs while a handful of my Cancer Clique girls are facing their mortality. They are the ones having to break the news to their kids, to their families and friends. They are the ones in real pain, experiencing real fear and real is entirely heartbreaking. I want to rage about their situations, not my own. They have fought so hard and endured so much during treatment and still it's not enough. I want to howl at the moon about the sheer unfairness of it all.
I may end up falling into that shitty percentage who don't make the five to ten year mark...but then again, I may not. Whatever happens, it's a lotto that I don't want to waste time dwelling on. I don't want to mope about with a victim mentality. I don't see the point in wasting my life worrying about the ifs and whens of cancer returning.
The emotional minefield is as entirely exhausting as the physical skirmishes. Can't we just close our eyes and wake up well, whole & secure?
And so the civil war rages on.



xx Em



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