PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blessing in Disguise

First of all, let me start off by saying I still have one drain. No, really that's NOT a joke. It's still here...holding on for dear life, still draining away. The original plan was to leave it over the holiday weekend and hopefully it would be through early this week. I saw that it wasn't letting up anytime soon, so I bit the bullet and called my doctor. I told her it still wasn't letting up and asked her if she wanted me on anymore antibiotics. I REALLY don't want to take the chance of another infection. 1- if I don't get my foobs by the end of the year I'll probably DIE and 2- they told me my last infection was low grade MRSA...serious stuff. They hammer the danger of MRSA into you at school, so I didn't want any more of that nasty business. She told me to run up to the office, and she'd give me a fill (an unorthodox thing to do with the drain still in, but not really a taboo thing to do- just not the norm) which would hopefully fill the space that the fluid was trying to build up in. She also gave me a prescription for more antibiotics and some pain pills (I swear I'm turning into a junkie). My PS is pretty laid back when it comes to fills. She prepares to do 100-150 ccs each time, but she'll stop whenever you say stop. She filled the first 100 ccs and asked if I was feeling any tightness. I told her no, and she said she'd go for another 100, but to stop her if I started to feel anything. When she was done with that, she had me sit up and asked me if I felt anything. When I told her no she says "Welll I can try to put in another 50 ccs if you want." I told her to go ahead, and she made me promise to tell her the second I had any pain. Which, oddly enough I didn't. I had a fill of 250 ccs at one time...and I still have yet to really feel anything! I'm almost a little nervous...hope I'm not in too much pain later....

I had to work as soon as I got in from the doctor. Since I've started working from home, taking insurance claims, I've heard lots of crazy stories! I've talked to all sorts of people's been pretty interesting. One call today really stuck with me....the caller was a younger sounding man (he was in his 40s, I later found out) and he said he needed to file a Leave Request (FMLA). I started the claim, asking him probing questions to find out the specifics of the request. He said that his wife had recently passed away (about 10 days ago) and he needed to take intermittent leave to help take care of his kids. He said he was extremely stressed out about this...he has two small children and no one around to help take care of them. He then went on to tell me that his wife had died of breast cancer...after a long, two year battle. His voice started to break when he asked if I knew if he'd get into trouble for missing work. He said he's having to try to find a sitter for his kids, because they have no family around. I was almost in tears as I took his claim...he sounded so helpless! He couldn't even really take the time to grieve for his wife, because he needed to take care of the kids. Then I realized that the kids would have to grow up without their mother, and I almost lost it. I told him that I was very sorry for his loss (duh! the most stereotypical thing to say) and that I sincerely hoped things worked out for him.. being raised a Southern and a Baptist I was about two breaths away from offering to cook for him (When someone dies- I feel like the grieving family needs food. Either a casserole or fried chicken!)

When I hung up the phone, I realized how easily that could have been me. Had genetic testing not been so common, so readily available,  I would have never known that I have Cowden's syndrome. Had my neurosurgeon not had the idea that I needed to get tested for Cowden's in the first place, orh ad I not had a brain tumor in the first place I would have never known about my high risk for breast cancer. I had so many near-miss scares, that one of them could have EASILY been the big C diagnosis, had I not known to monitor it so carefully. I mean what person in their 20s even thinks to have a mammogram?? There's a girl in the area, who was about my age when she died, who went to the doctor about a lump she found in her breast. The doctor dismissed it, told her it was nothing, and sent her on her way. It persisted, and when it was finally tested, it was stage 4 breast cancer and she later died. So many people have died so early, and I could have easily been one, had I not known about my genetic risk.

I say all of that to say this....while what I'm going through SUCKS (no doubt about that) it could be worse. I don't have to fight a two year battle with breast cancer, I don't have to go through chemo or radiation and then eventually end up having a mastectomy anyway. I guess I'm realizing that it's a blessing in disguise.

No one's getting rid of me that easily :)

***AUTHORS DISCLAIMER: Even though I've come to this epiphany, that doesn't mean that I still don't know that my situation sucks a big one. I reserve the right to still complain would complain to if you had a tube with bodily fluid draining into it hanging from your armpit****


  1. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!

  2. I sent you an email to the address on your profile! Hope you get it...blogger hasn't been working great for me lately