Thursday, April 15, 2010

Expiration date

At the cooking class, we tell short stories about our circumstances. One woman's cancer came back on her 10th anniversary of survival. She knew stage 4 breast cancer was not good and in between tears asked So this means I only have months to live? Oh, it's not that bad. You'll have a year or two, she was told off-handedly. So in her mind, she set her expiration date to be sometime in April 2010, the more optimistic prediction. But now, she seems to be past her expiration date and will throw a party. Not only that, she can not foresee a revised date as her medications seem to halting the progression and actually caused a regression in the more crucial areas.

Recently a woman detailed the awful things that various physicians told her mother as she battled lung cancer in an article I read. She had so much material for this, she actually converted it into a book. Fortunately she and her mother were able to find a few compassionate, caring doctors but she seemed to find an inverse relationship between medical expertise and compassion.

I still remember the highly- deficient- in -people- skills radiologist who alerted me to my cancer. She delivered the news sighing with impatience at the seemingly stupid questions I was asking. It was at the end of a day and somehow I was detaining her and she let her irritation be known. And she had a new resident with her taking this all in. I instantly forgot her name but remembered her crappy perm and cold mien. Someday, I'll look her up and write a letter. You could argue that she saved my life but as another radiologist pointed out, my case was so blaringly obvious. No could be cancer but it is cancer.

One survivor recently got a letter in the mail that said her mammogram showed some areas of concern that were probably benign. Food for thought in the middle of the night.

So it will be toasty and I've been running alot. I'll go and work out the muscles. As time goes on, the arm hurts less and less (which argues against bone mets). I still can't do the stretch putting my hands on a doorway and leaning in. Only one hand can touch the door sill.

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