Sunday, 28 April 2013

Results Day

Finally I know the results of all the tests and investigations concerning the two spinal lesions. One is definitely not cancer, and one definitely is. I may know the results, but I'm still a long way off really understanding them, and what the exact implications are for the future. Up until now, I've been fully up to speed with each and every twist and turn of the route my cancer has taken. I've been on the ball enough to ask all the right questions, so I'm feeling more than a little lost and confused and somewhat out of control at the moment. 

Basically, like most people, I used to think that cancer was black and white. Either you get treated, you make a fabulous recovery, and live happily ever after as a "cancer survivor", or you get a treated, it doesn't work, and you die. During those long ago days when cancer was something that only ever happened to "other people" I had no idea that there was a myriad of different layers and shades and textures of grey, where things just aren't black and white and easily understood. 

I had a long and detailed conversation with a very articulate and personable Oncology Consultant, we spoke the same language and I understood every word individually, but I came away puzzled as to what the cancer will do next, and even more puzzling is that WM, who was sitting next to me and taking an equal part in the same conversation, heard a different message to the one I've partially taken on board. 

So this is what, between us, we think we know. 

The cancer has spread to my spine. However, they believe that it might have been there when I had chemo, and that the chemo might have stopped it in its tracks. No guarantees though. 

There are no other visible traces of cancer in my body whatsoever. 

So I wanted to dance around the room singing happy songs with a great big smile on my face, but the Consultant then added a few bits that, in the light of what we had just been told, simply didn't add up. 

I am now classed as having Stage IV cancer, the terminal stage, also known as Metastasis, or Metastatic Disease. 

They are now starting me on Zometa, a bone-strengthening intravenous infusion I'll have to have every three weeks. This is used for patients whose cancer has spread to the bones, so, despite the fact that we were told it was sorted, they obvious are concerned. 

When I stupidly asked if, in the light of the good news I'd just been given, could I expect to live for another 30 or so years, the Consultant shook her head quite vehemently. If I was very lucky, at most I might make it for 10 years, but, her words, "it is almost inevitable" that the cancer will return. The average life expectancy is a rather sobering 26 months from today. 

So does this mean that the cancer I've already had is still lurking in me, hiding away, waiting for the right moment to strike? Or does it mean that, because I've shown a previous susceptibility to cancer, it will happen all over again from scratch? 

To be honest, right now, I don't know what I'm feeling, Vulnerable, wobbly and a bit off-balance would be at least some of the adjectives that might describe aspects of it. There are still too many unanswered questions, and huge gaps in my knowledge. 

I also feel a bit of a fraud. How can I have metastatic cancer when it's only such a teeny weeny little single splodge of it that seems to be done and dusted already? Am I dying? The irony of all of this is that, after 4 months of feeling like death warmed up with no energy or oomph, and breathless all the time, this week I'm suddenly recovering my strength and vitality. It's gradual and slow, but I already feel better now than at any point since a few months before I was diagnosed. 

Anyhow, for now I'm definitely not dying. Over the coming weeks I'll get the answers I need, but first I'll need to work out which questions to ask. Once I'm clearer about exactly what's going on, I'll be back in the driving seat and much better able to deal with all of this. Meanwhile, life is far too precious to waste any moment of it worrying and obsessing about things I can't do anything about. 

My job for the moment is to just keep going. Even if I do get seriously ill again at some point, my job will still be to keep going for as many extra days as I can. They are making breakthroughs and discoveries about cancer and it's progression all the time, and as long as I'm still remembering to breathe in and out on the day they make the discovery that will send my particular brand of cancer packing, then I'm home and dry, and I may even make my nineties, never mind my eighties. 

It's actually a lot more than just keeping going. It's about living a full and happy life. Even if I only get another few years, there's absolutely no reason that they can't be fabulous ones. 


  1. Yvonne, you were given a lot of confusing information. I honour your vulnerability, wobbly-ness and feeling a little off-balance.

    As you re-group and determine what you want to do for yourself, please let me know if you're interested in trying EFT Tapping (which you can use to overcome your fears around cancer, metastasis, and anything else on your mind!!!).

    You so deserve a long, fulfilling, happy life with your loved ones, and I'm proposing some powerful, easy to use EFT Tapping tools to help you.

    You've gone through so much invasive medical treatment...a little Tapping is so easy to do, and non-invasive!

    I'm passionate about helping my friends heal, and living full, happy, fabulous lives!

    Love and well wishes,
    Sharon, Ottawa xox

    1. Thank you Sharon. Your on-going care and concern is humbling, thank you. I'm intending to be far more disciplined from now on in embracing new health and lifestyle options,so EFT is one of the things I intend to explore in more depth over the next few weeks and months. I've got to make any changes very slowly and gradually if I'm to stick to them, so please bear with me. Hope all's good with you in Ottawa xx

  2. Yvonne, sorry, very freggin sorry to hear this. Tight virtual squeeze being sent your way. As you say no time to waste keep movin ~D

    1. Diane,

      Thank you so much - I virtually felt that very kind hug. xx

  3. Hi Yvonne,
    I'm sorry about your stage IV diagnosis. It's an awful lot to try to absorb, so give yourself time. As you said, you'll get the answers you need over the next few weeks. Good luck with things.

    1. Thank you Nancy. It feels like there were a lot of mixed messages, and you're right, I just need to take things slowly as far as taking on board everything. I'm really grateful for your kindness this week xx

  4. Hi,

    I have a quick question for you regarding your blog, but I couldn't find your contact information. Do you think you could send me an email whenever you get a chance?




    1. Hi Cameron,

      Did you get my email? Look forward to hearing from you again.


  5. Yvonne,

    You are going through hell right now, and my heart broke while reading this post. I'm so very sorry about your recent medical news.

  6. Beth, Thank you for your lovely words of kindness. I'm OK, I've been probably too busy for it to sink in properly, and there are so many question marks still hanging around this issue, so I'm trying not to dwell on things until I can get a clearer picture from the medical team. I'm very optimistic and hopeful, at least for the moment! xx