Today I gave my oncologist a gift

“When I was first diagnosed DeNovo stage IV, I asked my oncologist what my prognosis was. He said he couldn’t tell me because he isn’t a fortune teller. But he shared the statistical average, which in 2016 was 18-36 months.

I replied, “Well that’s not going to work for me. My youngest is in the 8th grade. I have to live until he graduates high school otherwise he’ll end up with his dad who is incapable of taking care of himself much less a child who will be grieving the loss of his mother. I need 5 years.”

He replied, “It doesn’t really work that way. But I will do everything I can to help you get there.”

I said, “I suppose cancer doesn’t negotiate.”

So at my appointment today I asked him if he remembered this conversation.

He said, “Oh yeah”.

Tara and Basil at graduation

And then I said, “Basil graduated this June. You made it possible for me to see it.”

He had tears.

I had tears then [when] he had me tell the nurses and staff in the infusion room. Everyone was crying, from joy.

And while I sat getting my Zometa, I realized why this touched everyone so much.

It’s not every day the oncology department gets good news. And the renewed sense of purpose a care giver gets when the almost impossible is achieved.

Almost every person in that room has been part of my care, whether it’s Diana who always schedules my PET/CT early so I don’t have to be hungry for hours [or] all the amazing nurses who have jabbed, poked, pumped or wiped my tears because I’m feeling sorry for myself or angry or resentful or absolutely scared.

I didn’t get this far by myself. I feel guilty for surviving when much better women than me haven’t.

I also thank all of you who keep me in check, remind me none of us has it easy, but accept my impulsive ramblings and maybe like me more for them. We are a truly amazing group of people.

Thank you for your love and understanding 💜💙💚

Tara S***
posted in Knowledge is Power (BC support group on Facebook) on 19 July 2021 and shared here with permission

Tara works part-time as a nurse. She was diagnosed with ER/PR+ breast cancer in October 2016. Stage IV DeNovo, which means her breast cancer had already spread to other organs when it was diagnosed..

She has been treated with Lupron (until getting a complete hysterectomy), Letrozole, and Ibrance. To offset the bone loss from an aromatase inhibitor like Letrozole, she is having a Zometa infusion. It helps prevent osteoporosis; in certain breast cancers (like hers and mine, estrogen and progesterone positive), it may also help prevent recurrence.

Averages are just that, averages.

Leave a Reply