Monday, July 23, 2018

Tossed from the Tempest onto the Beach

It's been four weeks since I posted, but those weeks have been a whirlwind of opinions, tests, second opinions, consulting with my regular doctors, and follow-ups. Seriously, this is first week I don't have one damn appointment since the first ten days after I was released from the hospital.

The good news is that I won't have chemotherapy or radiation in my immediate future. YAY!

The bad news I will have to add more drugs to my daily regimen. BOO!

Seriously again, I'm amazed how far treatment has come since the '80's when my grandmother was diagnosed. Or even the '90's when DH was diagnosed.

In my case, I had genetic testing that wasn't available twenty-five years ago. It showed that my odds of recurring cancer with chemo was the same as without chemo. To me, science is totally fucking AWESOME!

But those same genetic tests also showed that my lady hormones are what fed the original cancer. So I'll need to take a drug to suppress the hormones for the next five years. And since one of the side effects of that drug is osteoporosis, I'll need a drug to prevent that.

Also, I have to stop taking one of my maintenance drugs because it doesn't play nice with the suppressor. When you already have a delicate balance between health and meds, any changes can rock the boat.

Where does that leave writing and publication?

If you've been watching my posted word counts, the total for Hero Ad Hoc has been climbing in fits and spurts over the last month. The story has passed the 80% mark, which means the big final battle between the heroes and the villains is about to begin. Since this is a relatively quiet week (other than Genius Kid's 18th birthday), we've worked out a schedule to give me the maximum amount of writing time to finish the first draft of this puppy.

So why haven't I finished editing Hero De Facto because the first draft been done for months?

Because editing uses a different part of the brain than writing. And that part has been dealing with the insurance company and providers. I mean, it's totally amazing some of the shit these people will pull and the sheer level of incompetence.

Then there's the factor of the new drugs on brain capacity--as in, I have no idea how they will affect me. I already know statins, the class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, really messes with my short-term memory. I need a huge chunk of uninterrupted quiet time when I am editing.

Uninterrupted quiet time is in short supply because I need to be able to answer my phone--lots of calls from doctors, etc.

And then there's the decisions I need to make regarding possible reconstruction and the health of my other breast. I'm reconsidering the original proposed plan. In fact, I had to have a talk with both my husband and my oncologist about their biases and preconceived notions about what they think is best for me.

I won't lie. The left mastectomy hurt like a mother-fucker, but the inability to work was the worst part. Any reconstruction would involve more hospital time, more drains, and more recovery time. Plus, invasive lobular cancer is statistically more likely to spontaneous occur in the opposing breast (as in a whole new cancer, not the original cancer spreading). So should I go ahead and have a prophylactic right mastectomy?

These are the thoughts swirling through my brain right now. There's no perfect answer. Nor can anyone give me one. Those thoughts simply color my mental flow as I live vicariously through my heroines.

So right now, it seems best that I write while I can, see how things shake out with the new drugs, and contemplate the pros/cons of the follow-up surgeries and if/when they occur.