Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Update

Yes, I've been MIA for a while (I guess a few days is a while for me)  I've been busy, not feeling great and generally kind of blah.

I'm having trouble getting going. I'm tired most of the time and not really feeling 100%.  This is the first week I've been unmedicated since my last treatment (well, the last couple of days) and I find my body is going through a withdrawal from the percocets. I'll truly be glad when chemo is done and I can be done with those.

A few months ago I had to fill out some forms for the Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic at Princess Margaret Hospital to see if I was a candidate for genetic testing - to see if my particular cancer is the hereditary kind.  They wanted to know my entire family history of cancer on both sides for as far back and laterally as I could determine. It wasn't too hard since the history of cancer in my family, on both sides, thankfully, is not very strong.

The clinic called yesterday to do a phone interview. They basically confirmed all the info I gave on the questionnaire. The clinic determined that I am not a candidate for genetic testing, the reason being that between the types and patterns of cancer in my family history combined with my particular make up of my cancer there is only a 2% chance it's genetic. I could, of course, opt to pay for the testing myself (upward of $3500) but I don't see the need. Princess Margaret Hospital knows their cancer and if this clinic says there's a 98% chance it's not genetic that's good enough for me.

What this means is that my daughters, while they will still have to be diligent in checking themselves and will have to have routine mammograms at a younger age (because I was under 40 at diagnosis) their risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer is not anywhere near as high as it would be if it were a hereditary cancer.

She also told me that through the Ontario Breast Screening Program women who are at a higher risk for breast cancer (which would include me - as a recurrence) can have yearly mammograms/breast MRI's.  She said she could input my info (family history as well as my cancer) into the program and it would determine my likelihood of a recurrence and therefore whether or not I qualify for this as well. She said the risk factor would need to be 24% to qualify.

I was on pins and needles again, it's been a long time since I've had to hear 'new information' on my cancer and at the moment I'm enjoying the blissful ignorance of hope that between surgery and chemo I'm cancer free and will stay that way for the remainder of my very, very long life. So I told her to go ahead and put the info in and then I held my breath.  Based on the info put in (family history and my own cancer) my risk factor for a recurrence is 16%.  That's not a bad number if you ask me. I don't even qualify for the program. Yay!  Now, that's not to say I won't still be getting regular checks, my Dr will  see to that, it's just that under this particular program, I don't.

So, yesterday was all about good news.

And yet, for some reason I'm still feeling kind of crappy.

I was supposed to go for a wig fitting this morning at a local salon that specializes in it. I need a wig for when I go back to work. Plus, frankly, I'd like to go out once in a while and not have everyone automatically know I'm a cancer patient.

I packed up the wig I have (that I don't like) and a picture I have of a time when I really loved my hair. Sean and I went to the salon for my scheduled time and it was locked. No one home. We waited about 15 minutes and finally left. I called and left a message.

A few minutes later the stylist called, her car had broken down. Sean, ever the skeptic, thought it was an excuse and maybe it was but she sounded genuinely upset that she'd missed us. So I'm going back Monday afternoon. We'll see if I can find something.

And last but not least on my updates....
Mary went and bought all the toys for the toy drive.

Her intention was to donate them to a local toy drive. Then, one day, earlier in the week I read an email on our local freecycle network. A little boy who's been battling leukemia for the past 3 years has been donating toys to the Scarborough Centenary Hospital's Sick Kids Satellite Unit. His Mom was putting a call out for anyone who wanted to donate toys. 
This struck me on so many levels. I complain about 6 months of chemo, this little guy has been doing it for three years. Three years.  What a tough, brave little boy.

I talked to Mary, showed her his Facebook Page and asked her if she wanted to donate the toys to him for his toy drive.

So last night we drove out to his house and dropped them off. Unfortunately, no one was home but I left them at the door and his Mom emailed me last night to say she got them and thanks.

So, that's about it for now. I'm sure I'll work myself out of this funk soon enough. Sean's working some overtime tonight so I'm going to cuddle up on the couch with a beer and maybe rent myself a chick flick. And I'm going to enjoy some all by myself 'me time.'

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