This past weekend was very challenging for me in two ways.
First, Friday, May 17, 2013 was my first session of chemo and the Friday before the long weekend. It is another anniversary marker! How glad I am that is hopefully behind me. I say hopefully because I fear another primary cancer in the left breast. Heck, it was missed before so how do I know that it isn't going to happen again. From what I have read a second primary cancer in the breast is a much better thing to happen than mets! (I have heard of one woman who 7 years after her first breast cancer got breast cancer in the other breast.) I think all breast cancer patients live in fear of mets and as mine was Stage III with advancement to lymph nodes, I am at much greater risk of recurrence. Although I say better, that isn't entirely true as one can only have so much AC chemo as it is very cardiac toxic. I already had mega doses of it last year! It is unclear whether I could have the AC chemo again but I am not going there. That is one question that I am not asking. I am looking forward and working and doing everything I can to prevent it coming back in the other breast.
The second reason why this weekend was so hard is that two years ago on the Saturday LC and I flew to the country I was adopting from and spent 10 days there visiting orphanages. The process has now changed (Jan 2013) and families only travel when they receive and accept a proposal/referral. This was an incredible trip and full of many memories and experiences. I met a wonderful lady, a friend of a friend, down there who I would love to see again. The last orphanage we visited had a 7 year old girl that was available, soon to be 8. She thought I could take her home then and there and on the last day was standing at the orphanage gate with her purse, doll and a pop bottle with three flowers in it. I came home and decided to move forward and adopt this little girl. R was a little bit older than I had been approved for so I had to change my homestudy. A month after coming home I got an email telling me she was no longer available! Needless to say I was heartbroken. You can read my first and only "heart" letter to her here. Fast forward to Mar. 2013 when I got a phone call about "N" who was 3 1/2 years old. I injured my knee and had to delay travel until early May and then return to court in Nov. 2013 or Jan 2014 to complete the adoption. Needless to say that it NEVER happened as on April 18, 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer.
Please don't tell me it is just as well or good that I got the cancer in 2013 not 2014 after I got her home. In my head I can rationalize that, in my heart there is just pure hurt, lots of ache and emptiness. I was so busy fighting the chemo and treatments that it wasn't until Jan or Feb that I began to realize my loss - my loss of motherhood. Mother's Day was very difficult this year as well as it should have been my first as a mum!
I am not sure if I will ever be able to forgive the mammography system for missing my tumour. I have to wait a while to see if the cancer comes back, I don't want to say how long publically, and then feel that I may be getting too old and taking too much of a risk.
Remember, if cancer is caught early it often gives patients the best odds at survival. Early in regards to breast cancer means those darned mammograms being read well and women informed of their breast density!