If you’ve read any of my former posts, you will know that I was diagnosed and went through treatment for a very rare, aggressive cancer, Small Cell Neuroendocrine Cervical Carcinoma. The five year survival rate is approximately 50%, if you were diagnosed at 1b1 or below. My diagnosis was 1b2, and I’m at 3 years post treatment.
I’m 37 years old with a 10 year old son and 7 year old daughter. My biggest fear is that I won’t see them become the people I know they can grow up to be.
The crazy thing about cancer, or any terminal disease, really, is that you are NEVER TRULY CURED. Sure, the physical illness may be cured, but you are never without the fear. I may not look sick anymore, but every time I have some strange pain, I’m absolutely positive it’s the monster come back to take me away from my babies. Every time I have a cough that lasts just a little too long, I’m sure that it has taken over my lungs. When I’m a little more fatigued than normal, my first thought is metastasis to the brain. I’ve been called a drama queen (which hurt), but until you can take a stroll in my brain, you should probably keep the judgement to a minimum.
I know a lot of people who have had cancer, and they all confirm that my feelings are not crazy. They have all had moments of weakness, where their positivity has run on empty, and they have given in to their fears.
This is my new normal. This is where I’ll be until my dying day. Whether that is in my near future or distant future, only God knows.
This is the next excerpt, taken from my Caring Bridge blog.
Life is funny that way
Written June 28, 2011 12:12pm
Written June 30, 2011 2:27pm
Not quite, but almost as confused as I was before
Written July 1, 2011 2:04pm
A funny thing happened on my way to the beach….
Written June 27, 2011 8:35am
About 2 months ago, I noticed something very disturbing. I will not go into detail(for all of my squeamish, male friends on here), suffice it to say, Shanna knew something was wrong. I went to the doctor, and after several tests, and many weeks of knowing nothing, my doctor(who has excellent timing, btw), called me last Tuesday while I was on my way to the beach. Now, don’t get indignant on my behalf. He knew I was on vacation, but I had asked(begged) him to call me with any results. After a short warming up, he told me “Shanna, I am sorry. The pathologist found small cell cancer cells.” After getting out of the wind tunnel that my mind had become, I asked him what this meant. Apparently(and according to my best girlfriend), I can’t even get illnesses that anyone else has. I have to be unique, and not follow the trends. You see, it is very rare for small cell cancer to develop on one’s “lady parts”, it is usually reserved for lungs. My doctor had not heard of it, and I believe I heard him say(over the screaming in my head) the pathologist had never seen anything like it.
A little background, to let you know what I meant earlier about learning from my mistakes. I don’t know how long this has been developing. I haven’t had health insurance for 3 years, and since I passed my last exam, I thought everything was o.k. Am I scared? Hell yes! Will I get through this? As best as I can. Have I learned something? You bet. Things aren’t always what they seem. Ladies and gentlemen(yes, you too) please go to your regular doctor’s visits. You never know what is lurking about.
The information part of the first paragraph?? Believe me, as soon as I get information, I will be getting it out there. It is very difficult to find something about this particular type of cancer because it is so uncommon. I hope that while I am going through this, I will be able to impart some knowledge, so anyone else who gets this prognosis won’t be as in the dark as I am right now.
For any of you who don’t know me well, I have a very dark sense of humor. If at any time, I make a joke about this that offends you, delete me(because believe me, if you offend me, you will be deleted). I am not making fun of my disease, I am trying to cope the best way I know how. I am not asking for any of you to pray that I get well, or even that I beat this. What I would like for you to pray for(to whatever God you worship), is that I have the strength to get through everything that will be coming my way. I am a fighter, and I am tough, I just need to be reminded every now and then. Pray for my children, who are 7 and 4. They will have a hard time trying to figure out what is happening to mommy. Pray for my husband, who holds his feelings inside, so you never know if he is o.k. or not. Pray for my mom, who is the strongest woman I know, but I am her only child, so this really tests that strength. Also, pray for the friends that are closest to me, who make up my solid support base: *edit: names removed for privacy*. They have promised to go through this Hell with me, and they will need the strength to deal with my whiny butt.
I have my first consultation with an oncologist this Friday, and as soon as I get an update, I will update you all. Take care of yourselves, and remember, if you think something is wrong…it probably is.