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Riding the Cancer Conveyor Belt

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I was diagnosed with TN IBC in January 2017. Given my symptoms, I already knew what the diagnosis likely would be but it was still devastating to have it confirmed. I was 48 years old and one of those people who never get sick. I can't even remember when the last time I had a cold. I am a full time senior lawyer with a thriving practice.

I lived a pretty reasonable life: ate fairly healthy, while not an exercise freak, I have always been active (run my 4 dogs 3-4 hours a week), and spend a good deal of time outside gardening in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter, I was not fat (although I don't miss the 12 pounds I've dropped over the past 6 months), never smoked. Never had a sweet tooth, so sugar was not a big part of my diet. No kids. For the naughty: I drank 2-3 glasses of wine with dinner regularly and was under a great deal of stress in the fall 2016 with four back-to-back hearings from Sept-Dec. I do note that I won each of them :).

I've just finished 8 rounds of chemo: 4 FEC and 4 docetaxol. Besides losing my hair and fatigue (especially after my third round of docetaxol), my side effects have been pretty nominal and my blood counts have been normal. I've done the 72-hour fast recommended by Valter Longo throughout. I've worked throughout, although at about 75 percent capacity and work from home as needed. My MO says I've had a great response to chemo but my US in a few weeks will confirm.

Next step after US is meeting with the surgeon on the 18th to discuss next steps. Surgery terrifies me. I walked out of my port placement because the nurses were incompetent and I am scared that I will do the same thing in hospital. I wish they could just dart me in my yard, lift me into a truck, do the deed, and then return me to my yard tagged and in a cone. Similar to how they handle rhinos :).

I know my chances aren't great with this lovely combo so, for me, quality of life is paramount. Before I do any treatment, I need to know that it is likely to have a meaningful result on my survival chances. I feel like I'm on a conveyor belt and I am the only check and balance in this system.

We have legally assisted suicide in Canada and my MO has assured me that if things start heading to shit, he will recommend me for the list. I have four dogs, aged 7-10, and really, I just want to outlive them although they each have designated people in the worst case scenario. I had to cancel a month-long trip to sit in the Okavango Delta with a private guide in May, so I hope I can do that next year. My memories of Botswana have helped me get through some rough times these past 6 months.

-- IntegraGirl

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of nor are they intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians.

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