Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How not to spend a Sunday

Or part of it, anyway. So there I was, deciding to do a google search on my awesome surgeon, Dr. Jeruss, to see if she’s getting the accolades she deserves on the internets. This leads me to (duh) other blogs by women with cancer. Which leads to more blogs, all by young women with various types of cancer. So I get sucked into reading some of these blogs, which get more and more dire as the writer gets sicker…..then the blog stops.

Sometimes there’s nothing, sometimes there’s an update by a husband or relative, perhaps, as the writer has gotten worse, with brain lesions and the like. And then……after reading and getting to know some of these folks, you find out that they passed away.

And one of those blogs has a link to an article from the Atlantic Journal with a depressing paragraph like this -

"But consider the breast-cancer patients doctors most dread seeing—women in their thirties or forties. Such cases are relatively uncommon; breast cancer owes its status as the leading killer of women in this age group mostly to the even lower likelihood that they will be killed by anything else. Nonetheless, the individual tragedy of a disease that strikes down young, vibrant people makes it disproportionately urgent to treat them. Sadly, younger women in whom cancer is diagnosed are more likely than older women to have fast-growing tumors, because slow-growing tumors are usually still too small to detect. Given the probable doubling rates, these women will be lucky if we can give them an extra five years. Five years is, of course, much better than nothing—but much less than the thirty or forty years these women will lose."

- which basically says that those of you with breast cancer, oh by the way, it’s pretty much a death sentence, since no matter how good a job they do of taking the cancer lump out, there are in all probability cancer cells running amok through your bloodstream looking for a place to latch on, and it’s only a matter of time before it’s baaack. So you go from thinking okay, this sucks but it’ll be over and done with, to thinking shit, my life expectancy isn’t too great, now is it. WTH?

But then, I could also be run over by a bus tomorrow, so I guess dwelling on one’s mortality isn’t such a great idea anyway. Though this does make a couple of things crystal clear:

1) I can pretty much stop worrying about saving any non-existent money for retirement. Vegas all the way, baby!
2) The whole diet thing – I was going to look into a book on the whole anti-cancer diet, i.e. replete with antioxidants and other cancer-fighting foods. You know, to clean up my diet EVEN MORE, if such a thing is possible. To help stave off recurrence. But now – and I do wonder this, in all seriousness –if the cancer already exists and it’s just a matter of time, what difference does it make? Why the hell NOT just suck down margaritas all day? And corndogs? Okay, so I might die of clogged arteries before the cancer has a chance to come back, but still.

Plus I feel bad that this has degenerated into The Cancer Chronicles. I realize that people come here to my little blog to hear about the epic rides, to learn about the minutiae of my extreme training regimen, to live vicariously through my strict interpretation of the paleo diet, to glean information about my power wattage, my ever-climbing VO2max – in short, to marvel at my iron discipline and to attempt to recreate the same.

And yet, here we are.

My grueling swimming regimen has been disrupted by radiation therapy. Running? Forget it – between the collarbone and cancer surgeries, even walking briskly is painful. As for biking, ah, my beloved biking. I admit, I’ve been sorely tempted as we’ve been having beautiful weather to just take Salome out and go for an endlessly long ride, to just suck up it up, pain be damned. Isn’t that what drugs are for? The only thing keeping me from delving into this realm of stupidity is the dizziness that comes along every time I turn my head. Down, up, over – it doesn’t matter – I’m close to toppling over on a regular basis. So the notion of having to explain to Dr. MerkHottie how I broke my OTHER collarbone when I went into a ditch – well, that’s less than appealing.

And besides, I don’t even have my bike back yet! Deanna has been keeping Salome in her greedy clutches, because now that Deanna has that "heart rate” problem fixed, she’s planning on kicking my ass at any and all future IMs. I know this because that’s what she told me – I think her exact words were “you’re going down. Hard.” Obviously part of her plan is to keep me from training, at the same time that she’s mocking me. This was our conversation today:

Deanna: Hey, I was reading this thread on ST about this guy who did his first Oly triathlon 6 weeks after he broke his collarbone. So what’s your excuse? Lazy much?
Me: Laz….hey, I’ll have you know I had THREE surgeries – collarbone, cancer lump, hunk of lymph nodes. That means I get 3 times as many weeks to recover. 15 weeks or so, or 3 months. So there.
Deanna: Whine whine whine. You don’t even have cancer anymore and you’re still whining. You don’t see me whining about my heart rate problem, do you?
Me: Well, yes actually. Did you finally change the batteries in your HR monitor, by the way? And also, need I remind you that I had a severe concussion and brain bleed that’s still affecting me??
Deanna: Yeah, sure. If I look up “concussion” in the dictionary, I see the word “undertrained.”
Me: Huh? That doesn’t even make sense.
Deanna: Whatever. Btw, I was going to get Salome from Jen, but you know how tiny and wee I am, and your bike is just too too heavy for me to lift. We’ll have to wait until some brawny guys or you can do it. Oh, and Salome had some kind of stickers on her new fork – I peeled them off just to…..
Me: NOOOOOOOooooooooooo…………..


Missy said...

Glad you are back and posting; missed your crazy sense of humor!
I think you are going to be just fine. A few months off and you're going to come back stronger than ever!

Colleen said...

"younger women in whom cancer is diagnosed are more likely than older women to have fast-growing tumors." Far be it from me to burst your bubble, but do we need to discuss the meaning of "are more likely?" It doesn't mean, they have fast growing tumors. Besides, you don't have a fast growing tumor. Looks like no corn-dogs for you, missy!