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  • Writer's pictureJulia Heck

Time Flies When You are Having "Fun"??

Wow, this past week has just been a whirlwind of emotions. But we will stick to cancer progress today...

 

The last time I had an update about cancer was back in March. At that time, I had had a huge reduction in the lesions in my liver. It was amazing progress--It was the next best thing to "cancer free"!


Although, once the results came in I was unfortunately not as excited as I wanted to be... I wanted to be on top of the world. I should've been SO excited because my cancer hadn't spread. But I didn't feel that way?! I was so confused. I thought for sure that getting that amazing news would sit really well with me and I would just feel comfortable knowing that nothing was spreading.


But that was far from the case. I felt so frustrated that my cancer wasn't totally gone. It's probably greedy for me to expect that, but I think it's somewhat expected. Even if I do everything by the book, it won't speed up the process. Cancer has an agenda of it's own and I'm just living it. And for those of you who don't know me... me and 'no control' don't always mix well. #ControlFreak

Over the past three months, I've been able to start to feel a difference in the size of the mass in my breast. It's been a really exciting time AND my tumor markers have been dropping significantly. They started at 114 and are now down to about 48. All signs were pointing to a really encouraging scan coming up at the end of June! To say I was excited was an understatement. I was even confident enough to say, "I'm not nervous about scans" because I felt like I knew that things were getting better.


Fast forward to the weekend of 6/13. I got my tumor markers back and they jumped from 48 to 52. I think this started to provoke serious anxiety and stress over the fact that they were going up, even if it wasn't that much. Then on Sunday night, my breast mass felt like it was getting larger! I was in shock but thought, "it MUST be in my head. There's no way...". I did as my doctor always tells me to do, "try not to check on it every day".


IMMEDIATELY on Tuesday morning (lol-it wasn't EVERY day) I woke up and still felt like something was off. I didn't want to tell my family because I didn't want them to worry if it was nothing to worry about, so I figured I would just wait until I went in for chemotherapy on Wednesday. The nurse came down and assessed what I told her I thought I found and she agreed that she thought the mass was growing.


**cue tears**


I was a freaking mess in the infusion room. The last few times in there, I have been a wreck. Usually I go in there cheerful and feeling like myself, but the last few times it's been crying city where ever I was sitting.


Side note: I find that giving myself the time I need to cry makes me able to handle a lot more than if I try to hide it all day.


So then it became crunch time--I immediately called the Imaging Center and they made it work so I could get scans that same day. I was weirdly super excited to have something to act on and be able to do right away.


While I was still super upset, some of the thoughts that went through my head while I waited to finish my chemo treatment were:

  • Why does cancer even exist?!

  • This isn't fair.

  • I don't wish this on anyone, but why am I the only one of my friends having to go through this?

  • I feel so alone, as much as everyone is always there for me.

  • My life has changed SO much in the last year.

  • F*ck cancer!

  • My life is going to be different forever because of this.

 

Once I got to the imaging center, I immediately started drinking the contrast for my CT (if you ever have to do this, go with CranApple Juice, it hides the flavor the most). I, again, couldn't stop thinking about the worst case scenario. I was thinking to myself, what if this comes back and everything has gotten way worse? Then what?!


That's when I had a thought that has helped me through all of this Scanxiety, "we cannot fix it unless we know it's broken". So I changed my mindset to more of a "how are we going to fix it", instead of "what if it's worse".

While I was on the table, I was thinking about work as a distraction and it got me thinking... Why am I working???


I quickly realized that the answer is real simple: I'm working because I will be DAMNED if cancer takes my life before I am ready. I plan on living my full life and I better be able to enjoy things while I'm here (traveling, a house, a boat, going out to eat, you name it...), so I guess I better keep working!


After my scans, I felt a sense of relief, even though I wouldn't be able to do anything until I heard the results of the scan.

 

Then I heard back--I was absolutely [pleasantly] shocked that my scans came back and my cancer is still decreasing in size!!

 

What a relief that was! I still feel so lucky that this is continuing to shrink and I am doing a little happy dance, trying not to make myself feel like I shouldn't have said anything. After all, I'm the CEO of my body and if I think something needs fixing, I have to call in my team to help to fix it. Anyone who is going to the doctor should never feel bad about bringing something to the doctors attention, so don't think you're being "annoying". One day I'll learn that's the case. 😉


The mass in my breast started out at about 6 cm and is now down to 4 and the lesions in my liver are still shrinking. All of the cancer is showing up as less enhanced, which means that it is not nearly as active as it once was.


The reason the mass in my breast felt larger was because the cancerous tissue (that was super dense) around it is dying so now when feeling the mass, it's just the tumor itself which makes it feel larger because more of it is exposed.


All the prayers, good vibes and positive thoughts are working and I'm still on the up and up of this cancer journey! Thank you all for alllll of your support, you have no idea how much all of your texts, letters, phone calls and visit mean to me!


Fingers crossed for a good PET scan result next Friday!


Cheers all xoxo

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