Friday, March 14, 2014


All I wanted to hear on Thursday was "no more chemo".

I know that my cancer will return full force again; it is just a matter of time. Since I am missing the gene that suppresses one’s tumor growth in the body (Li-Fraumeni Syndrome), I will always been threatened with new cancers or the progression of my breast cancer. I was doing so well, chemo worked great but it was horrible. I felt horrible and I looked horrible but it did its job. Mostly all of my tumors showed vast improvement in regression; which is great but I hated chemo. Did I say that already? Well, I did, I hated chemo. I went 11 straight months, every week- I deserved a break. I guess we just hoped the cancer would stay at bay, at least for a while.

I feel bad for my Oncology PA, I am pretty sure I hit her with close to 45 questions I wanted answers to. She wrote them all down on a piece of paper. We discussed some there, and some needed to be answered by “the man” . . . my oncologist. When he walked in the room, he said to me “Why should you keep living with this pain?” I don’t really have a logical explanation why. I can’t take pain meds; I cannot function as a wife and mother on them. I will not be attached to a pain patch that makes me sick and makes me have to take more meds to counteract the reactions. I most certainly will not sit my ass on a couch and cry and complain every hour of every day. I would rather just deal with the pain because the alternatives outweigh the benefits. “Let’s try some radiation.” he added. Radiation will reduce the size of the lesions and alleviate my pain. This is a palliative treatment. It will not cure my cancer; it is simply being used to relieve symptoms.

Now, radiation for me is a complicated. There are certain guidelines to follow when dealing with LFS; one of which being to avoid radiation therapy if at all possible. Here’s why: there is a small chance that radiation can cause secondary cancer because of the radiation. Well, if a patient with a P53 gene can get a secondary cancer due to the effects of radiation, the percentage is even higher for a person without that gene. If you are still following me, because of my LFS I am at in increased risk of developing another type of cancer normally, but having radiation would double that chance.

Doctor’s don’t normally like to be questioned, but mine takes it in stride. I said, “Uh, what about the LFS?” and he just smiled. The plan is to start me on radiation, very small doses of radiation, for one session. One session could be 10 or so rounds of radiation. I would go every day for a couple weeks. There should not be any higher risk to me with this low amount of developing any new cancer. I will have radiation a lot closer to my house, and meet with the Radiation Oncologist next Tuesday. This doctor ultimately decides exactly how much radiation I will receive- my oncologist simply recommends what he would like to me to have.

This next step is frightening, but it’s better than chemo, it’s better than being in pain and it’s better than being dead. If it’s gonna help then I’ll rock it in good ol’ Kate fashion.

I’m gonna be Radioactive, radioactive.