I imagine it was the news that I only need to see my breast surgeon yearly that set me off on this new path..... this path that I thought was leading me so very far away from Cancerville that I would no longer be considered a citizen.
We won't discuss how someone who has had a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy and has perky silicone implants instead of actual non-perky breasts could possibly think they would ever not be considered a citizen of Cancerville. Let's agree to skip that part.
Lately, as I approach the 4 yr post-diagnosis mark, I have been feeling more and more removed from that place and all that it entails. 5 years is a magical number in the oncology world. When you read survival statistics "cancer xyz at stage n has a 75% survival," it is a 5 yr survival rate you are reading, unless otherwise specified. Yes, just 5 years. There are many cancers where if you can get to 5yrs disease free, you are considered cured. Of course, unlike the portrayal in the media, breast cancer is not one of those cancers. It does not pay attention to silly things like medical journals and textbooks. It can come back to visit years later.
So, yesterday was my 6 month oncology visit and Zometa infusion. For some odd reason, I thought I was almost done. I was thinking one year more of tamoxifen and Zometa and then we make decisions. Decisions whether to follow conventional current wisdom and stop tamoxifen at the 5 yr mark and to stop Zometa at the 3 yr mark. Well, apparently despite 3 semesters of college calculus and a little more advanced math, I cannot count. I did not actually start tamoxifen until 2007. I was not thinking about that part. So, I am on tamoxifen until sometime in 2012. Not a huge deal. I am not experiencing anything I can blame on tamoxifen. But I was thinking that was it. One more year.
Instead, I am presented with my treatment plan through 2015.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a bad thing. Whatever I can do to keep the beast out of my body is what will be done. Including getting rid of the weight that so nastily reappeared when I was working excessive hours this past winter. 5 more years is just longer than I was anticipating of "treatment."
So, I'll hang out here in the distant suburbs of Cancerville a little longer. The alternative is unacceptable.