“Today is a day like any other” … I am willing to bet this phrase is almost never spoken by a cancer patient and their support system. For obvious reasons, we [cancer patients] worry, struggle, question, and sustain constant inner turmoil for a resolution to the current situation. Today, unfortunately, is not like any other as we ponder the question “what’s next?” which seems to always loom on the horizon. Bonnie and I have been quote unquote survivors of Stage 2 Breast Cancer since the results of her lymph node dissection showed no cancer on her left side. Our new oncologist, Dr. Anderson stated because her BRAC2 and Oncotype DX results revealed a myriad of positive [as in GOOD] results wherein the requirement for chemotherapy and radiation were not required as is the possible recurrence of her early-stage hormone estrogen (ER) positive only, a.k.a., prognostic significance. The Oncotype DX analyzes a panel of twenty-one genes within a tumor to determine a Recurrence Score. This score then corresponds to the specific likelihood of breast cancer recurrence within ten years of the initial diagnosis. Though this score is not validated, the buckets of Low, Intermediate or High risk are when the breast cancer patient receives and abides to five years of Tamoxifen. With this information, it may be possible for doctors and our patients; our loved ones, to make more informed decisions about breast cancer treatment options. We’ve all taken tests throughout our lives to gauge our aptitude in a particular subject. We’ve researched the materials prior to these tests and done our best to show the world we are adept in the materials we’ve been tested upon. Unfortunately for breast cancer patients, there’s no study material. You walk in with what you have and provide them a blood sample – and she alone takes this test. For breast cancer patients; hell for cancer patients, today is a day like no other. I explain all of this to you as Bonnie mentally prepares for her next visit with her Dr. Anderson and as I look into her eyes while we discuss this subject I can tell you all she’s already in the on-deck circle studying the pitcher’s movements, his velocity and the angle of his delivery. Yes, another baseball metaphor. Let me tell you, as a husband; with zero medical background, it’s difficult for me to help her prepare which is why I sit here this morning helping myself to this keyboard and hopefully helping you, should you be in a similar situation. We’d all rather be fishing, camping, climbing, drinking, playing cards, watching our favorite sports team, painting a kitchen or as I did this morning; watering the garden and taking all the recyclables to Petaluma’s Recycling Center. The NHL playoffs more or less forced me to empty the recyclables this morning … insert laughter here, because today is a day like no other.
Give your partner a hug, it may be the only thing she really needs today. Rinse and repeat!