What’s next?

Y veterans25

Thursday, November 11, 2021. First up. To all Veterans, today and every day, thank you for your service. You have my heart and gratitude.

Yesterday Steve and I met with Rugo. The tissue from my core biopsy is still being analyzed…something called next generation genomic testing. It will be another couple of weeks before I know what my treatment options might be. Whatever it is, I will likely begin the first week of December. 

In the last three years, through all the ups and downs, we have never really had a discussion with Dr. Rugo about what my chances were for beating this disease. We just always assumed I will. I mean, it’s been 22 years and I’m still here. But this time, it just feels different. I guess it’s because we have thrown everything at it, and the cancer is not going away. So, Steve asked her, “What stage is it?” Given that the tumor is inoperable and that it is in tissue now not another lymph node and it is in my lung, she said it’s Stage 4. She used the word incurable. She looked me right in the eyes and said, “it’s going to shorten your life.” She was very direct. But what she said didn’t surprise me. It was just weird to hear her say it out loud.

I told her if I were hearing this assessment when I was in my 20s or 30s I’d be freaking out, but I’m 69. And this cancer is slow growing. And three years ago, when the cancer came back as TNBC (triple negative breast cancer), the only treatment options were chemotherapy and radiation. Now one of the treatments I might be getting was just approved in August. So, I’m optimistic that one of these new treatments will work on the zombies within, and I will be kicking around for quite a few years to come. I’m guessing I will be in some sort of treatment the rest of my life or until I call “uncle.” It could be three years or it could be twenty. As with most things in life, there’s no way of knowing. 

But I do know this, in a couple weeks we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. A time for gratitude and reflection. Please know I am most grateful for all of you and the support you’ve unselfishly provided in so many ways over the past three years. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Though we tremble before uncertain futures, may we meet… adversity with strength, may we dance in the face of our fears. —Gloria E. Anzaldua