By now most people have heard that Olivia Newton-John's breast cancer has returned this time in her lower back. (USA Today) It has been 25 years since her initial diagnosis. Breast cancer metastasizes and it is not unusual for women to be disease free for five, ten, fifteen years and have the disease return. There is a organization METAvivor whose focus is to do just that and to support women who are living with disease.
Did you know that Ovarian Cancer can recur - months and years later? I know women who have dealt with single recurrences and some with multiple recurrences. Some women are in constant treatment just like those with metastatic breast cancer.
Yes, there are new drugs being developed to treat the recurrences and target specific mutations but just like with breast cancer, more research is needed. But being diagnosed with a disease that can recur at any time brings along with it other issues to deal with too.
My first reaction to hearing about Olivia Newton-John was sadness and then the fear took hold. I could feel that strange tightening in the pit of my stomach. And then my thoughts took off to a place that I try very hard to keep in check. Damn. I could recur at any time.
I've been really tired lately. ( Could be my allergies.)
My lower back started hurting a few days ago. ( Could be bending to pick up my grandsons.)
My digestive system still isn't right since the stomach bug I had two weeks ago. ( Could just be it is taking that long to clear up.)
I take a deep breath. And then another and finally slowly get hold of myself. I know that my gyn onc will see me in a few months for my regular check-up. I know that if these symptoms continue for two more weeks I can always give her a call and see her early. Alright I have a plan. Once I have a plan I am good.
Being disease free is not being worry free. That is a side effect that can come on at any time.
How do you handle your fears of recurrence?
Every Day is a Blessing!