Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cancer Awareness

I find it hard to believe that anyone does not know that cancer exists. But of course that may be because it is an ever present factor in my life.

We had another check up for Lily last week- she is doing very well. Her doc assures me that she looks normal and her face does not look 'moonlike'. She is an eating machine and is growing like a weed. Her doc also mentioned that we need to get going on screening for the other kiddos. Ugh. An evil necessity. Screening for cancer is 100 times worse emotionally than a gyn or turn your head and cough exam. But early detection is the key. So we will do it.

For the kids, it will be minimally invasive and based on immediate family history. They will each get routine bloodwork and Brain MRI's as well as abdominal ultrasounds. The ultrasounds are nothing- Phillip is an old pro- he also showed no concern about the MRI- his comment was"As long as they don't have to shove that tube down my nose, I'm fine". Kiera's eyes got wide and I used a cookie cutter, little people and my phone as an example. Her biggest concern is that it not be louder than daddy's music. I can pretty much guarantee that, but I personally would prefer daddy's music. Phillip and Kiera are going to do scans without sedation, but Bella and Lily will still require sedation. I don't like that part. Again, necessary evil.

It's part of our new routine. I am treating them as a routine doctor's appointment. We have to, this is going to be their routine. I don't want them to live in fear of doctor's or cancer, I want them to be aware. We'll be starting in November. Of course my concern was that both my dad and brother were diagnosed in November and I may be tempting fate- or I may be relying heavily on my angels to come through. There never will be a 'better' time.

The psyche is a funny thing. I never understood the bury your head in the sand approach until I was about 2/3 the way through my dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is what I refer to as the tests reccommended for screening as adults. It includes a routine physical, bloodwork, a gyn appt, dermatology appt. endoscopy/colonoscopy, Mammogram and abdominal ultrasound . It's A Brain, spine, breast, and screening MRI. And last but not least the PET scan. For those who have asked- isn't there a test for cancer yet? The PET scan is the closest thing to it. It's not useful in children due to the way it works. You are injected with radioactive glucose. It's low dose- really short half-life. The idea is that glucose(sugar) is taken up more quickly by rapidly multiplying cells- cancer cells are rapidly multiplying cells. In kids- too many of their cells are rapidly multiplying since they are still growing. This is the test that put me over the edge. The test itself is like a standard MRI or CT- a little bit trying for your average claustrophobic, but it's the hour of complete motionless, quiet time you are forced to endure after being injected with radioactive glucose. Time that you pray for every day suddenly becomes a curse as all you can do is pray for an hour that none of your cells latch on to that glucose. It became abundantly clear to me that I wanted to live. Not in the live or die sense, but that I didn't want my life to be on hold for all these tests. The stress alone of them could take months if not years off the big picture. I don't want my kids to go through that. Experience is ever enlightening.

The best answer I've found is to treat this as normal. No sense in treating it like a major production if it's something that's got to get done. Getter done. It's more of taking life philosophy and injecting it into the situation. Everyone has a routine that works for them. Each routine includes things we would rather not do, but have to nonetheless. This is part of our new routine.

1 comment:

  1. Your words and thoughts take me back to what I will call a difficult but much simpler time. I am reminded of a time that seems "not all that long ago" when I was the mom of a young boy dying with cancer. I had a young daughter also. She didn't have cancer and our hope was that she was among the 50% of our LiFraumeni Syndrome group who wouldn't.

    I understand what you are going through. I understand how difficult these decisions can be. I understand your desire for living. You will do what you need to do. I support you in whatever you choose.

    November has always been one of the happiest and saddest in my life. Your brother was born in that month. Your two grandma's were born in that month. Your cousin Ami was born in that month.Your Aunt Ann was born in that month. In our past it was a month for much celebrating.

    Even though your brother and dad were diagnosed in November that doesn't have to be a negative. It has always been a month for remembering and being thankful. The month for Thanksgiving.

    So.... you are doing the best for you and your children. You are showing them how to take care of themselves. You are showing them what they will need to do to prevent what they can. You are giving them love. I am so thankful for you.

    Mom (Grandma)


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)