The words my oncologist always repeats to me: “Slow to show, slow to grow, slow to go” echo in my head.
Could this be my tipping point?
It’s been time for a check-up again. I can’t say enough how I’m actually enjoying going in just for tests and results! Compared to forcing myself through the door for dreaded chemo (which I’ll stop talking about soon enough), it’s a walk in the park.
For the first time in 3 years, there’s been no change in my scans. This plateau isn’t boring or anything I want to change for the moment. When I plateau with work or exercise or anything goal-orientated, I panic because I feel something’s got to be changed to get things going again. This is different.
There are no new tumours. The existing ones have neither grown nor decreased in size. My marker’s decreased a little. This is good news. The onco is pleased, saying that the hormone blocker is doing its job. No shit – I’m waking up with night sweats and even as winter tries to start up here, there are days where I alternate between aircon remote and heater dial! That’s the worst of it, I think. Well, on the outside anyway. To translate her enthusiastic comment, the past 6 months on the blocker have been starving the tumours of oestrogen and something has changed which means the HRT I was on for 20 years, was feeding the tumour. She has an additional suspicion…
…that the radiation I received when I was 17 was overkill. It’s possible that it changed the targeted tumour’s DNA (because that’s what radiation does – heard of Chernobyl children?) and also that of the surrounding tissue which, like a deformed family member of its peers, kept growing – v e r y slowly – over the years. This cancer is indolent (lazy) and the onco’s “slow to show, slow to grow, slow to go” theory fits. Well, whether the case fits the theory or vice versa doesn’t matter. It is what it is.
After a very long, intense struggle, I’m very happy to be sitting on top of the mountain for a break. I’m not convinced that the hormone blocker is the sole hero here. The diet I’m on, my efforts into focusing on a way forward, my comical cat child, my sanctuary of a home, my listening to my body when it’s tired / hungry / hurting / had enough, have all played a part. At some point, all these small changes make a big difference.
It’s like that with anything in life. I read Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point some years ago which explains the phenomenon. (It’s a great book, by the way, with plenty of explanatory examples. I recommend it. You can pick it up at Amazon.) Perhaps all the tiny, good / positive things I was doing even before I was ill, were filed away and are now coming up as I need them without even realising it.
That’s what life learning is about, right? Maybe it’s about ignoring the elephant in the room until it shrinks into a wallflower. Whatever it is, I’ll keep on keeping on. During June, I’m due to have another marker blood test to track progress. With pleasure!