Tuesday, 5 May 2015
Was it the logging on and doing my weekly surf to find out what was happening in the online world of metastatic breast cancer, only to discover that long-term blogger and high profile advocate for change, Lisa Bonchek Adams was no more ? Or perhaps it was the recent revelation of a fellow BC friend who I only ever exchange stories with on Facebook, has now had recurrences after a long time of being in remission ? Whatever it was, something made me decide to promptly sit down with a strong cup of coffee, just an hour or so after dropping off my son at school, and turn towards this blog. I've written many times before about the sinking feeling that often accompanies the news that someone who you wouldn't recognise if you passed them on a deserted street has just died from the very same disease that you can now call your own. Apart from the feeling of sadness for their family, children and friends there lurks too the sombre voice of one of my doctors during a past consultation when a scan showed positive (read negative if you're the one sitting in a doctor's chair waiting for the results) that always comes back to haunt me - 'one day you're going to run out of drugs'. This rather insensitive but succinct sentence (no, I can't believe she actually said that either... but apparently she did feel guilty after saying it) always reminds me that perhaps the waves of grief and numbness that I feel might one day be directed to my own situation. A death from metastatic breast cancer shouldn't be a shock. For those of us who are lucky enough at the moment to be living a 'normal' life, it can be an abrupt reminder of how quickly things can change. It is also, if I really want to be melancholic, a stern reality check that warns me never to get too complacent about the here and now, just yet.
Just as I was thinking of returning to post another musing on life five years later, I happened to watch The C- Word last night on BBC Iplayer. This was a one-off drama based on the book of the same name by the late Lisa Lynch. I never read the book but was a regular visitor to her blog and enjoyed her bittersweet and witty take on living with cancer. She was around ten years younger than me and while I admired her sunny and often hilarious view of everything from her portrayal of her doctors to the gruesome after-effects of chemo, I admit to being too immersed in resentment and fear at the time to relate fully to what she so articulately wrote. Sometimes I would read both Lisa and Lisa's blogs and wonder how they could be so open about everything. In my traditional West Indian family we had secrets about secrets. It's surprising that we grew up remembering our own names. I watched the programme last night already knowing the story but interested to see how secondary breast cancer was going to be portrayed on mainstream TV. And it was surprisingly good and it made me overwhelmingly sad. For not only did I recognise the tidal wave of complex emotions that you are forced to deal with in a relatively short space of time, it reminded me how important it was and still is for us mets ladies (the ones that people are never quite sure what to say to) to continue blogging and sharing our views about what it is to live with this horrible disease, and how much it helps to others to hear.
I didn't plan to preach my way back to this blog, but perhaps after reading some of the tweets following the death of Lisa Bonchek Adams and re-reading some of Lisa Lynch's blog, let's just say I'm feeling more than a little humbled.
On the treatment front, I'm still on the zometa bone juice which I get every month by IV infusion and then there are the daily letrozole tablets as well as the three monthly zoladex injections. My son, whose speech and communication difficulties continue is now being evaluated again by a paediatrician so we will just have to watch this space. And... I have another scan coming up but since as well as being brought up to be reserved, I am also wildly superstitious (still can't walk under a ladder or throw away the last piece of bread without wetting it first), let's just say that I will be tentatively crossing that bridge when I come to it.