Thursday

Expanding My Vocabulary

I watched the movie "50/50" the other day with Seth Rogan.  It's based on the true story of Seth's real life friend who battled a soft tissue cancer of the spine when he was just 27.  The movie was actually very funny and quite touching at times, I definitely recommend it.  While watching the movie I realized something.  Cancer patients have their own vocabulary.

I guess it's similar to anyone with a very specific skillset in their job, words you use on a regular basis that have no business in your normal everyday life. 

As a breast cancer patient I've become intimately familiar with the following words/terms:

Regimen
Diagnosis
Counts
Port
Neutraphil
Hormone Receptive
Invasive
Infusion
Prognosis
Treatment
Metastasis
Lymph Nodes
Biopsy
Oncology
Hematology
Staging
Tolerate
Survivor

...and many more I can't think of right now because I have chemo brain (that is totally for real BTW).  The last one is my favorite.  Watching the movie I could relate so much to some of what he was portrayed as feeling.  What I thought was the most true to my experience was the moment he was being taken into surgery and he broke down.  It's so easy to be all "I got this" and "I'll be stong", but when it comes down to it, we're all terrified.  I broke down too when they wheeled me away from my family for my surgery...it was just too flippin' real.

I do find so much comfort in the fact that there is a whole community within this cancer crap.  I love hearing about other people and their experiences.  A woman came up to me in the mall and asked me if I was a breast cancer patient (I don't know if it was the bald head and the pink glitter shoes that gave it away, but I'm assuming so).  She was a fellow survivor and we instantly struck up a conversation about our specific diagnosis and treatments etc.  What was unfortunate is the fact she is currently battling Lymphoma (which they think was brought on by the chemo-lovely huh?), but she was so sweet and optimistic and I was so glad to meet her.

I'm doing really well, although very tired this week for some reason.  I have my third treatment next Tuesday (yay!) and my biggest hope is that in addition to tolerating it well, my Neutraphils are up.  At my last appointment they were down from 19,000 to 2,000.  Yeah, total bummer.  The doctor told me if they don't decrease, I won't have to get the shot of Neulasta.  I was also told I was borderline anemic, so they'll be keeping an eye on that.  The good news is that means the chemo is doing its job.  

As time goes by I'm getting very anxious for the next couple of months to move quickly.  I can't wait for spring and summer and I can't wait for my stupid hair to grow back.  Bald is acceptable, but I certainly don't feel beautiful.  Nobody gives me a hard time, but I am self conscious and people do stare.  I also plan on walking in the 3 day this September in Seattle, which will be a big undertaking but I'm up for the challenge...anyone with me? 

That's all for now!

Go Honey Badgers!!!!!

1 comment:

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