Saturday, February 15, 2014
In most ways, it seems forever ago. It took longer than I thought it should, but my health has returned. My visit to the oncologist last month was short and sweet. "Still taking your drugs? Yup? Good. Go home, keep it up, I'll see you in six months."
The rest of the world, along with my brain, is pretty sure the demon has been banished - if not for good, then far enough away that he'll be a long time returning. My gut doesn't agree. It still remembers Mom feeling better, then the news of her cancer returning. It doesn't care about the estrogen positive markers, the drugs I take to remove estrogen from my body so the cancer can't grow. It's still afraid.
I picture some escaped cancer cells, sleepy from lack of nutrition but still there, waiting for the estrogen to return and their chance to grow. It would only take one surviving cell to bring me down.
Not that it'll get its chance any time soon. The Tamoxifen and Lupron I take do an effective job of removing estrogen from my body. I can tell by the side effects. I LOOK normal, but I'm tired. My skin is dry, my joints ache, I spend nights tossing the covers on and off based on the state of my hot flashes. When I get the Lupron shot each quarter, I struggle with heightened fatigue and easily gained weight for the next month. In other words, all the symptoms of menopause, 'just' magnified and compressed.
I try to take the side effects as part of the price that needs to be paid if I want to continue to live. Life doesn't come cheap. I try to remember Victor Frankl's thoughts, that the last of human freedoms is to choose my attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose my own way.
I choose not to let the fear win. I choose to get up (almost on time) every day despite the fatigue, to put on my best face, and to face the world with the closest expression to a smile I can muster.
And tonight, I choose to spit in the direction of my banished demon. She is wailing and gnashing her teeth in the darkness, I am marking the day with a bowl of ice cream and a grateful spirit. So there!