Sunday, September 07, 2008

Is the cure worse than the disease?

My oncologist called today. The CT scan showed that I have a brain. :) The radiologist said that my scan was normal although my oncologist thinks that there is some damage on the right side. If there is any, it's within normal parameters. It could be that my brain is healing (does the brain heal?) or that it's old damage from my bike accident 17 years ago. My mammogram was also normal, which is a relief.

I told my oncologist about my teeth and she was quite concerned. She's cancelled all my Pamidronates until we figure out what's going on because there is a possibility that my teeth are loose due to osteonecrosis of the jaw, a known side effect of the Pamidronate. She said that I might need to see an oral surgeon and that I might need a biopsy to confirm what's going on. It could be that the loose teeth was caused by my fall - that I ground my teeth really hard or else the fall itself caused problems. On Monday, when my dentist comes back, I'll try to get in to see her right away. My oncologist has asked me to keep her posted about what's going on.

Honestly, talking to my oncologist freaked me out a bit. I was already kind of worried about my teeth but hearing my oncologist's concern worried me even more. I very much hope that the problem is trauma-related, although I'm not sure if my teeth can be fixed due to the Pamidronate. It would suck so much for my cancer treatment to leave with me with something that isn't worse than cancer but is still pretty awful.

I saw another doctor today and at the risk of giving you TMI, he diagnosed me with vaginismus. At least the problems I'd been having aren't due to a physical problem and I don't need surgery. I'd rather not have had this problem in the first place, to be honest, but it can be fixed. Part of the solution might involve psychotherapy of some sort as I suspect that this problem is partly in response to the mets diagnosis and the changes in my life because of that. Not to mention the lack of estrogen, which may have played a role in this in the beginning.

Emotionally, I'd say that today was a pretty rough day. It's hard to hear that this problem is an involuntary response that I've developed over time. I know that this situation isn't my fault but at first that's what I thought - that I had somehow done this, or that I had somehow made this happen. I'm feeling better now after a good talk with Ian. I can also say with some authority that if I didn't have mets, I wouldn't have had this problem. So again my cancer treatment has had side effects that affect my whole life.
I never wanted to have breast cancer or mets and I never really wanted to have the cancer affect my life. The fact is that the cancer and its treatment have or are affecting every aspect of my life and I don't like that. Part of me just wants to hide from the cancer and to compartmentalize it over there. Learning to not do that and to take all of these (and other) side effects of treatment in stride is a goal I have. It's hard not to resent the cancer and the treatments for having changed me and my life completely. I wish that the treatment were like it is in science fiction: nanobots kill off the cancer with no lasting side effects. Wouldn't that be nice?

1 comment:

Darling Jee said...

Sending BIGHUG your way. And an email.