Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Breast cancer just doesn't let you forget...

It was a nice little "honeymoon" of no tests, treatments, doctor appointments and all the other "stuff" surrounding breast cancer.  But, I guess the party is over for the moment and I'm back to the waiting and worrying games. 

I saw my medical oncologist this past Wednesday and she ordered the routine lab work, including the CA 27.29  tumor marker test.  I got the results on Friday (such a nice little birthday present) and my markers have gone from 31 to 55.8.  With normal being below 38, I am now scheduled for a PET scan on 5/11 to see whether or not more trouble is brewing.  Many oncologists don't order this particular tumor marker test, because it has a nasty habit of giving false positives.  For me, it has tracked with cancer activity so it cannot be completely ignored.  I feel fine, no unusual aches or pains, my metabolic panel and CBC labs all look very nicely routine, and there is nothing that seems suspicious.  Except the tumor markers. 

As a family, we are getting good at "compartmentalizing" this stuff.  Anyone remember the press using that word when President Clinton was going through the Monica Lewinsky debacle?  Everyone wondered how he could focus on being president and they talked about his ability to block it out.

"Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance, or the mental discomfort and anxiety caused by a person having conflicting values, cognitions, emotions, beliefs, etc. within themselves. Compartmentalization allows these conflicting ideas to co-exist by inhibiting direct or explicit acknowledgement and interaction between separate compartmentalized self states."

Yup, we're all getting pretty darn good at this.  Or you could call it floating down the River DeNile.  In any case, I'm doing a lot of fun things and not letting this get in the way of living my life.  And taking a sleeping pill at night when it's much harder to distract myself from the obvious anxiety. 

On a much lighter note, I had a fabulous birthday celebration with my family.  It's the first time that I've been able to celebrate with the grandkids, and it was a blast!  They enjoyed the Japanese steakhouse and cooking show.  And afterwards, the kids and I hit a local karaoke bar for some dancing and singing.  Hey, it's pretty cool that my kids are willing to be seen in public with me on the dance floor!!!

Our trip to Paris is coming together nicely.  We will leave on May 25th and return on June 4th.   I am going to start a separate blog with trip details, plans, what to see and do, pictures and food/restaurant reviews.  Oh yes, it's going to be magical!

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