Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Herceptin, Stitches, Dodging Bullets

Three doctor visits today: Oncologist for my Herceptin treatment, surgeon to have my stitches removed, and gynecologist for an ultrasound of my ovaries. Turns out ovarian cancer is far scarier than breast cancer -- by the time screening finds the cancer, it’s already Stage III or IV, with a five-year survival rate of about 40%. I just started to write, “Thank goodness I have breast cancer instead”, but then realized I have Stage IV breast cancer, with a five-year survival rate of 20%. I keep forgetting. I guess that’s a good thing, though.

I now have to be very careful about ovarian cancer because having had breast cancer raises my risk for ovarian cancer significantly. Sigh. The body’s full of potential cancers. The world is full of potential dangers. Life is full of potential deaths. So when we live to a ripe old age, I think we should celebrate that we’ve dodged all the bullets.

I will welcome every birthday that comes now, not with a sad, “I’m ANOTHER year older!” but instead, “Hey! I’m still alive!” I’ll hit the big 40th next month so I’m very much looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to my 50th and 60th birthdays as well. I’m looking forward to being a toothless old granny in a rocking chair, laughing at my little grandchildren, toothless and gummy, in diapers, and drooling just like me!

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