On my 21st birthday, my oldest brother took me, his wife and my parents to Foxwoods Casino to celebrate. He handed me a stack full of cash or at least that’s how I remember it, but I was 21 and poor so any money then seemed like a lot… but anyways, he handed me some money and said, “Have fun tonight, you’re never going to be this lucky again”. I made my way around the casino trying different games and ended up finding my fortune playing Let It Ride. It is a form of 5 stud poker where you wager an intial bet based your 3 cards you can see and 2 house cards that you don’t see right away. The distinguishing feature of the game is you are given two opportunities to retract 1/3 of your initial bet. The 1st based on your hand and then the 2nd after the first house card is flipped OR you can let your full bet ride for the big daddy payout at the end or complete lose it all by Letting It Ride. I did have beginners luck that night and I went home with full pockets.
It has been a long time since my last super coherent blog post, but here I am. I am back friends, and I realize, we have a lot to talk about. I’ll jump right in rather than a long recap: Calvin is doing fantastic and Cora is loving being a big sister. Me? Well, today… today, I look good, today I feel good. I am not immediately dying. I am living life and still have lots of life to live. So, for now, my intial cards look good, I am going to Let It Ride.
Sooooo, I have been taking a lot of ‘flack’ from some people because they keep saying they don’t understand what is going on with my cancer treatment, where I am “at”. Some people are asking if I am all done or if I have beat this beast yet. I suppose I didn’t realize how big of a deal this would seem to others in my life, and I am learning a lot as I grapple with some big questions. Everyone seems to want to know how far the cancer has spread in my body and if it has, what am I going to do about it.
Well, this is information that falls into a grey category. It’s not that I do not want to know, it’s just for now, knowing if the cancer has spread further or where … well, this information doesn’t change anything. I could have a PET scan or bone scan but after talking with my team, we (Nate, myself and my doctor) decided that having these tests wouldn’t change anything except knowing that my disease has gone from potentially curable to not curable. We know the previous chemo didn’t work via the pathology results from surgery. The cancer that I have now does not respond to traditional chemo. My 35 rounds of daily radiation which I am now DONE with, definitely served it’s purpose. All you have to do is take a look at my discolored and burned skin for proof of that. So now we attack the cancer by starving it to death and providing an uninhabitable place for it to thrive in. I will continue to be on different chemotherapy and also what is called endocrine-therapy indefinitely (both IV and pill form) and other meds that make my bones and cells inhabitable for cancer to live in. Also, my recent labs results came back not favorably so now I am deciding between an imminent hysterectomy or oophorectomy (as my cancer is hormone receptive and the medication we’ve been trying to turn off my hormones with, isn’t working).
My team of oncologists are onboard with this plan and with the decision to not have any scans. My treatment plan is currently what they would do for any advanced stage patient, my doc says the treatment won’t change, so what good would taking PET scan do at this point? If I’m already getting stage IV treatment, what difference would a PET scan make? My doctor is pretty friggin smart. I trust her and I assure you I may be her only patient who has had cancer twice while pregnant… but I am not her first cancer patient. My hand is looking good, no need to retract my wager and waiting for the house to flip it’s first card.
That age old question, if you could know when you were going to die, would you? Would you want to know that you could be approaching those pearly gates sooner than expected? My answer is no; for now. What would your answer be? I’m serious. I’m curious to know, comment below. I think this is a situation where you think you would act one way until you were actually put into it and you might surprise yourself at how it actually goes down. I’m realizing that there are quite a lot of opinions out there, and I’m sure it’s a hard answer to make public but it’s honestly where I’m at right now. To my sisters in pink or to my other cancer peeps reading this blog I know you deal with this question as well as other types of big life altering questions, daily!!! And for the record, putting myself out there honestly does not mean I will get 100% approval from everyone on my choices and the path that I am taking, but this is my poker hand, and I get to choose how I play my cards.
I started this journey years ago in my first blog post. You all are along for this ride with me and I want to be open every step of the way. Thank you for being along for this ride with me. If my symptoms change, then I feel like we will address that when and if it happens or maybe once things settle down and I can handle more news I will go for those scans. Right now, like I said, I am living life and still have lots of life to live, my cards look good… I am Letting It Ride.