Trixieland

words about words

The Good, the Bad, and the Not-so-nice


The Good

Great news! I do not carry the breast cancer gene! Dr. Boobcutter called me himself to tell me. While it’s always good to not have a gene that’s trying to kill you, let me tell you why this is extra-awesome. It means my family can rest easy as well. My mother and aunts and daughters of course, but also my son and brother and any future grandchildren or nieces and nephews. The dudes, too? you ask. Yes. Men who carry BRCA1 or BRCA2 are more likely to get prostate cancer, and can pass the bad gene to their offspring. You can read more about the gene here.

Let’s pause a moment to celebrate this turn of events.

happy dog

The Bad

I had a whole day to share the good BRCA news with my family. And then the next day I notice that I have a new message in the online charting system for the hospital. It’s a message from my oncologist Dr. Cappucino and it says that my cancer is HER2 positive. The thing we did not want.

NOTE: I’ve noticed that in this odd side trip in my life that as much as I try to fake myself out and prepare for bad stuff, I’m not very good at it. I told myself (for what–three weeks now?) that the HER2 would probably come up positive. But I guess I didn’t really believe it, and it hit me pretty hard. This was my low point–worse than when Dr. Movie Star told me it was cancer.

Dr. Cappucino’s note went on to say stuff about chemotherapy and stuff. But first, a reminder on what the hell HER2 is.

HER 2 comparison

Does anyone else find it funny that the breast cancer cell totally looks like a boob? The tweet length dealio with this antibody is “HER2 makes cancer grow like a motherfucker. Kill it with chemo.” If you’re a science nerd like I am, read this article about how the National Cancer Institute identified the role the antibody plays and how to stop it. This treatment is cutting edge–one of the drugs was only approved in 2014. This is iPhone 7 shit.

Anyway, Cappucino is recommending Herceptin and Perjeta as part of my chemotherapy. (Don’t read the side effects, Christa, don’t you… ACK! My heart!) He also mentioned that there’s a clinical trial at my hospital that might be a good option for me. He said to give him a call if I have any questions.

I haven’t called him. I haven’t seen a doctor in two weeks. I’m still waiting to make the breast MRI appointment because I still haven’t gotten my period. Which is several days late. I know I’m not knocked up, so either I am more stressed than I have ever been before (a distinct possibility) or my body has declared “fuck you” and has thrown itself into sudden menopause. It’s REALLY starting to piss me off.

angy turdy tumorBeyond waiting, the thing that’s irritating me is the possibility of getting chemo/hormone therapy before surgery. It’s not uncommon, it seems to be very effective, and yet I feel like I don’t want to do it that way. For one thing, Turdy is fucking annoying me. He’s shape-shifting inside my tit, and as he is both HER2 positive AND according to his Ki-67 levels 50% of his shitty little self is in mitosis, he’s probably GROWING. You can almost see him from the outside now, in profile. He’s lumpier than before. He might be flipping me off. I want him OUT. I am starting to feel empathy for the crew of the Nostromo.

The Not-So-Nice

A friend asked me this weekend, how did I get this? Was it maybe the 30 years of drinking Diet Coke? Someone else sent me an email about how refined sugar causes cancer in rats. Did I eat too many sweets and give myself cancer? Well, I don’t know. No one knows. Do people need to make this my fault in order to feel safe themselves? Is chaos so frightening that blame must be placed on me? I also smoked cigarettes sporadically between kids. I know that’ll help give you lung cancer, but does it have a link to breast cancer? As far as what I did to summon breast cancer (according to the risk factors) I know I did some things right:

Had my first child before age 30
Breastfed my babies (2 of them for over a year)
Didn’t take oral contraceptives (they make me crazy)

Does all that outweigh the things I did wrong? Obviously not. But hey, is it necessary to know why I got cancer? Must we assign blame? Mightn’t it be like an unlucky roll of the dice or being struck by lightening? Do I need to be judged for this illness, or can we just move forward and fight this fucker?

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11 thoughts on “The Good, the Bad, and the Not-so-nice

  1. Carolyn on said:

    Sending love your way. And chocolate. Lots of chocolate. ❤

  2. Thank you for sharing this part of your life with us. I really hate that you are going through this, but I am relieved to hear that your kids do not have to worry.

    In regards to the causes, I thought MTV caused all of this?? Goes to show you how much I know.

    Hang in there and now we all support you.

  3. I’m happy for your family that the gene is not present. I’m sad that it is HER2 positive. But as I’ve said before, there is always hope. Yes, you will have your down days. But don’t give in to them. Find your support, find your positives, no matter how small. 🙂 I’m rooting for you.

    While my situation isn’t like yours, and I don’t pretend that it’s worse, or better, because we both have to live our own issues, I can totally understand where you are coming from in the “Not-So-Nice” section. I don’t know how to get people to see that even though they may think they are being compassionate, they really aren’t.

    For me, being a caregiver for my husband for the last 15 years, I’ve had my fair share of people. Everything wrong with TheHubs is unbearably complicated and compounding each of his other issues. Trying to explain that to ANYONE is a daunting task. After so many attempts to get people to understand and watching everyone’s eyes glaze over after about 5 minutes, I began to limit what I say to anyone who asks to just “he suffers daily migraines.” That is the simplest and most accepted explanation for my husband and I to anyone now. But I’ve noticed a trend now. Everyone that asks and we tell this to, now tries the “have you tried this? or “My mom gets those and she does this. I bet it would work for your husband.”

    Granted, it’s very nice that they are concerned and trying to help. I try to remember this; but it gets so frustrating to hear the same remedies and have to be the bad guy when you tell them no, it won’t work.

    Why can’t people see things in a broader spectrum? I’ve been doing this for 15 years, you really think I would just let him suffer and not try anything and everything I could find that MIGHT help him? Yeah, I’m that heartless, right?! Ugh.

    And when you’ve dealt with more than just the physical pain, you’ve deal with the emotional pain, and then the drug interactions and the near death side-effects, you tend to shy away from anyone pushing this new-found herb or essential oils or vitamins or this or that…. Everything scares the hell out of you.

    I don’t stop looking for something that may lessen his pain. I’m constantly looking for hope. But he’s settled into that whole, this is my life until I die. I guess I will continue to hear the “have you tried” and “my mom/sister/grandma uses” statements. Maybe one day there will be something I haven’t tried. But it is infuriating, most definitely.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

  4. I’m happy for your family that the gene is not present. I’m sad that it is HER2 positive. But as I’ve said before, there is always hope. Yes, you will have your down days. But don’t give in to them. Find your support, find your positives, no matter how small. 🙂 I’m rooting for you.

    While my situation isn’t like yours, and I don’t pretend that it’s worse, or better, because we both have to live our own issues, I can totally understand where you are coming from in the “Not-So-Nice” section. I don’t know how to get people to see that even though they may think they are being compassionate, they really aren’t.

    For me, being a caregiver for my husband for the last 15 years, I’ve had my fair share of people. Everything wrong with TheHubs is unbearably complicated and compounding each of his other issues. Trying to explain that to ANYONE is a daunting task. After so many attempts to get people to understand and watching everyone’s eyes glaze over after about 5 minutes, I began to limit what I say to anyone who asks to just “he suffers daily migraines.” That is the simplest and most accepted explanation for my husband and I to anyone now. But I’ve noticed a trend now. Everyone that asks and we tell this to, now tries the “have you tried this? or “My mom gets those and she does this. I bet it would work for your husband.”

    Granted, it’s very nice that they are concerned and trying to help. I try to remember this; but it gets so frustrating to hear the same remedies and have to be the bad guy when you tell them no, it won’t work.

    Why can’t people see things in a broader spectrum? I’ve been doing this for 15 years, you really think I would just let him suffer and not try anything and everything I could find that MIGHT help him? Yeah, I’m that heartless, right?! Ugh.

    And when you’ve dealt with more than just the physical pain, you’ve deal with the emotional pain, and then the drug interactions and the near death side-effects, you tend to shy away from anyone pushing this new-found herb or essential oils or vitamins or this or that…. Everything scares the hell out of you.

    I don’t stop looking for something that may lessen his pain. I’m constantly looking for hope. But he’s settled into that whole, this is my life until I die. I guess I will continue to hear the “have you tried” and “my mom/sister/grandma uses” statements. Maybe one day there will be something I haven’t tried. But it is infuriating, most definitely.

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)

  5. I’m also a breast cancer warrior and I just started chemo last week for My HER2 positive and triple negative cancers (different type in each breast). I was so mad when I found out that chemo had to come before surgery but it’s super common and way more effective. Good luck punching this thing in the teeth!

    • Wow Ashley! Different cancers in different breasts? That’s got to be like winning the sucky lottery! Thanks for the encouragement and good luck in your fight!! ❤

  6. it is not your fault re; getting cancer. I am sorry you had to get this kind of questions, maybe they are trying to understand, but they are not necessarily sensitive to your situation/needs. Sending you the best wishes.

  7. I wish there was more I could do for you. I know you have a rock-star support team over there and just know that while I’m far away, I’m sending you super-hero vibes daily, hell… minutely!

    As to those trying to justify why this happened to you in their tiny little minds and indirectly placing blame… http://images.fanpop.com/images/image_uploads/I-hate-people-angry-little-girls-372102_317_396.gif

  8. scc4fun on said:

    For what it’s worth I seriously do not believe that you CAUSED the breast cancer gods to smite you. I think it likely was an unlucky roll of the dice. Sending lots of love your way.

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