I think I have mentioned before how I lose friends every other week or so to this monster of a disease. I have so many acquaintances, online, from all over the world, and quite a few of them I have actually spent time with face to face. I met some incredible warriors during my time spent in Georgia this past spring. Of the several I befriended, only two are still alive and their disease has spread to where they had to move on to conventional oncology. Most recently were a woman with ovarian cancer and a man with pancreatic. I have changed their names to Stella and Todd.
The woman had a situation very similar to mine with tumors in her peritoneum and fluid accumulating in the free space in her abdomen. She called me frequently just to let me know she was still in the fight. Well, the weekend before Christmas, I got a text from another friend saying Stella had passed on just the previous night. Let me tell you, she was doing much better than I currently am. She was running errands and living her life. One evening, she went out to dinner and the, later that night, began vomiting. She went to ER but her intestines ruptured en route. Her heart went ballistic, she coded, and could not be revived. Just like that, her precious spirit had left us.
I have been secretly fearful of this exact scenario playing out in my life. Those tumors have only ever been visualized twice … both times in an OR and it was the surgery team that saw them. Scans or MRIs have never picked them up because, though there are hundreds of them, they are too small to be seen. But the photos taken last April when they had me on the table, sure looked big enough to show up. Anyway, they are all over my large and small intestines, and my stomach. And no one knows what those little boogers are up to. In her case, they were eating away at her intestines from the outside until the wall of her intestine was thin enough to just rupture and that was it.
Many nights I have vomited, unprovoked, and been scared of that very thing. How much vomiting is too much? When is the time to go to the ER if I want to catch things before they eat into my intestines? Could it be happening right now? And now that it has happened to someone I loved, I’m even more scared!
Also, I have been having horrendous night sweats, so I went to my go-to conventional community, bcmets.org. I typed Arimidex in the search block and the very first post to come up was from whom? ME!!!! Dated Mar 09. I have used this drug before. So I went to my spreadsheet to see what was happening with my markers while I was taking it. Unfortunately, not one helluva lot. So it didn’t really work for me then. Not sure where that leaves me this time, but I will have markers drawn again on 1/10.
And then, the day after Christmas, Todd left us. Todd had pancreatic cancer and refused to believe the 3-month stats for that kind of cancer. He survived for a few years, despite their predictions. But ultimately, though he was with us for far longer than they expected, he did leave and he wasn’t even 50 yet. So much loss after such hard battles. And the devastation goes on for generations. Cancer deaths don’t just affect the person who dies. It takes everything from you, both physically and financially with nothing left to leave or give to anyone. And then there is the genetic predisposition aspect. All in all, it just sucks.
So it is bitter cold again here today … too cold for me to go play with Gunner. So I sit here crying, zoning, writing, watching tv … when I would much rather have my “old” life back and be competing in a dog agility trial somewhere or xc-skiing since there is such wonderful powder at the ski resorts right now. Or even running all over town, shopping with my BFF and trying on stuff … none of which I have the juice for any more. And I’m beginning to suspect it will never return. My mother used to always say it. She would say not to give things up because, once you do, you never get them back. Now she didn’t mean material possessions … she meant activities and things you enjoyed doing. And, in my situation, I can see her as being right on the money. That is one of the biggest reasons that I have not given up a horse, despite the expense Gunner is turning out to be. But I will not give up a horse. If it is the last piece of my old life I can keep, dammit, I will.