Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Health update with glass-half-empty / glass-half-full news

After my cancer surgery, I was waiting for another shoe to drop. Maybe I felt I got off too easy, since I didn't need chemotherapy. Maybe I was still beating myself up for whatever mistake(s) I might have made that led to the cancer.

Anyway, last month, there was a shoe. I hope it is the last for a long time. I decided to have a hysterectomy, mostly to prevent other kinds of cancer I could be more vulnerable to (the Angelina Jolie plan), and also to deal with a fibroid problem. This was supposed to be very easy, laparoscopic, minimally invasive. Except. There were complications, as they say. I won't go into details here, but instead of a two-hour procedure, I was on the table for over ten hours. I was in the hospital for two days, and then came home for a much longer and more uncomfortable recovery than I was expecting.

I'm now about 2/3 through that recovery, feeling better every day. I've been working, taking walks, and pounding out a series of especially creepy short stories.

But I'm going to postpone the breast reconstruction surgery I had scheduled for June. And I have about had it with what has become my mantra: "It could have been worse."

So here's a better mantra, I think:

Friday, March 08, 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

Health update with good news

I met with my oncologist today, and the verdict is that chemo is not necessary for my breast cancer treatment. I also do not need radiation. The cancer I have is not especially aggressive, according to the genomic test results, and my lymph nodes were found to be clear during the surgery--meaning it didn't spread beyond the breast. I will be taking a drug called tamoxifen for the foreseeable future, and it has some unpleasant (and potentially dangerous but preventable) side effects, but it is certainly easier to deal with than the alternative. With tamoxifen, I'm told the likelihood of recurrence in 9 years is 5%. I don't know how they can determine this, but I'll take it.

At the moment, I don't feel as relieved or overjoyed as I thought I might--more like tired and wary about what's next. It's been a ride, which is not quite over yet. But things could certainly be a lot worse. I'm grateful for all the wonderful support and care I've received.

I need a nap and a drink, in either order.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Some health news

I've been debating whether to share this news on my blog and social media, but it seems like it's going to be part of my life for at least a little while longer, so here goes.

In early December I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last Monday, I had a mastectomy, and was told the lymph nodes were clear, meaning the cancer hasn't spread to other organs--the official stage is 2, which is usually very good news in breast cancer world. The margins were also clear. My oncologist told me this is a "very curable" cancer. We are still considering chemo or radiation; because I am (relatively) young and healthy, we have the opportunity (let's call it an opportunity) to try some more aggressive treatments as added protection. We will learn more next week.

I feel extremely lucky to have good health insurance, good care, and very supportive friends, family, and colleagues. I am going to get through this.

I will also try to write something more enlightening about this experience, perhaps after I have some distance on it. What I can say now is the usual: Don't skip your mammograms. If you have risk factors, try to mitigate the ones you can. Reduce your stress. And don't be afraid. There's been huge progress on this front in just the last few years, and treatments can be very targeted.

Also, I'm still me. I'm still writing and working. At the moment I'm a little more tired and short-tempered, though you might not even notice a difference there, and wearing button-down shirts for the first time in decades. But otherwise I'm the same as I ever was, and will continue to be.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Thursday, August 09, 2018

You Can Be a Winning Writer

I have a little piece on commitment in this new book. It's full of short inspirational and educational pieces that can give you a boost when you need it.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

New flash up...

...at 100WordStory (actually a 100-word essay).