Ok, time for a bit of a rant. (Again?) And maybe I'm just too sensitive, need a thicker skin...whatever. And this post has been in draft and rewrites since before I reached the end of all the cancer doctor appointments for this year. And I'm pretty sure a bit of what I'm bout to say will make me unpopular with some.
I'm sure we're all seeing this, especially now that we're right in the middle of the pink craziness that is October....banners and pictures that state: "When breast cancer is detected early, the 5 year survival rate is 98%." This is starting to grind my very last damn nerve. That number...98%, includes so many people who will not survive bc. This number is based on still being alive after 5 years. So you catch it early, do treatment, survive 5 years, you are counted as a survivor. If you get diagnosed with metastasis of your bc, even the day after your 5 year cancerversary, (or even in the middle) well, then, I guess you get counted again as part of the 30% of bc people who will get metastasis, even years and years later. So now you're both a "survivor" and a stage 4 patient. Mine was not considered "early stage" by the way.
So recently I've had more than one person tell me that I'm allowing "the fear" to ruin the rest of my cancer free life, every day, and that it's such a shame, since I've "already beat it". (Obviously people are super weary of my bc talk this time of year.) Some expressed this opinion to me in a friendlier manner than some others did. But not all the people who know and care for me think this way...Or at least I don't thinks so... Maybe there are some who are keeping it to themselves if they feel this way about the way I'm handling my survivorship.... Well...if only there was a point where we can know for absolute sure that bc is done...not coming back, I wouldn't get so bent when people say that kind of thing to me. But, sadly, we aren't there yet. And, although I've blogged this nine ways from hell to breakfast, it bears repeating....bc is an asshole... it's a kind of cancer where there is no amount of cancer free time that indicates "yer done". Ok? There's just not!! And it could come back, or worse, metastasize, at any time, regardless of the stage at initial diagnosis and regardless of treatment chosen. And it can come back as a totally different kind of bc than what you started with too, so there's that. Pretty much about 30% of people diagnosed will have stage 4 bc. And it sucks. And this is where "the fear" comes in when dealing with oncology style of appointments.
Now, I can confirm that, each year I'm better at managing this effin "fear". Less and less of my time is consumed with bc issues now. BUT, when faced with a mammo, or oncologist, or blood work....yeah....it rears it's ugly head. And from what I can tell from talking with others, it's completely normal and natural. I allow myself to feel how I feel.
And if "beating it" were as simple as only eating organic, consuming tons of kale and blueberries, chowing down on lentils while burning patchouli incense and singing "Kum Ba Yah" around a fire pit, then surely info on this would take bc treatment more that way, oncologists would prescribe it & proclaim the elusive cure has been found, and no more with the "slash / poison / burn" treatment. Ya know?
Anyway, we're all (bc people) gonna have those anxious moments... please don't make the mistake of telling us to just be all super happy & positive 100% of the time cause we've "beat it".
Only if and when I'm privileged enough to become much, much older and / or pass from something other than bc.... Then I've beaten it.
Ok, end rant.