Everything yet nothing is cancer

By | January 26, 2015

At this stage every ache causes me to question, then dismiss cancer. My first thought is, is this cancer? Has it spread … and then my logical brain jumps in and says no, this is not cancer … so in some ways, everything feels like cancer, yet nothing feels like cancer.

I did get some re-assuring news from my breast surgeon. They were meticulous about removal of breast tissue – so were other surgeons may leave a little more, she scrapes the skin thin to remove all the breast tissue – sometimes this causes skin death (I have a small patch that didn’t make it) – which it then becomes the plastic surgeon’s job to fix. I’m OK with that. So, if a ‘local recurrence’ were to happen, it could be on the skin itself or on the chest wall. Both are very rare – they don’t actually screen for the chest wall recurrence. My next visit with her is in 6-months (yay).

My oncologist also made me feel better about my other aches and pains … my worries about spread being so unlikely (but hey – so is bilateral breast cancer) … but still. I was informed that there is a 1-3% chance of improved survival with ovarian suppression and aromatise inhibitors (AIs) over tamoxifen in pre-menopausal women (note that it is an increase of 1-3% not an improvement of 1-3% … meaning if survival is 70% then the increase is (.7*.1 to .7*.3) or 70.7-72.1% (I think I did that correctly). This is causing the clinical oncology world to question which treatment option to be recommending. I’m going to start off with the tamoxifen and see how things go. Both the tamoxifen and AIs have side effects, and I really don’t like the AI side effect of increased risk of osteoporosis – where the tamoxifen actually helps your bones stay stronger. We shall see how it all goes … I’ve been told I can wait a little longer before starting the tamoxifen (a couple more weeks) to better recover from the surgery …

Today I went on the same bike ride as yesterday, just on a different bike. The distance was almost 6km, and it took 23 minutes (on my Bike Friday – foldie which is definitely faster than the trike). The tension on my arms was a little more than I’d like, so I will give the Bike Friday a rest for a few days (or until next week). My knees are feeling better but they still hurt a bit when I bike. If you would have told me at this time last year that I’d be struggling to ride 6km I’d have laughed at you. But, alas, I am taking it one step (or pedal stroke) at a time …