Scan, Treat, Repeat
Updated: Jul 21, 2020
It has been over a year since my diagnosis of stage four or metastatic breast cancer that has spread to my spine. After my initial diagnosis, I read a great deal about my condition. None of it sounded very encouraging. Again, after the oncologist explained my treatment plan, I researched the medications I would be taking. And again, it offered minimal encouragement.
I finally decided that I would discontinue that approach. My thinking changed to one of acceptance and living my life one day at a time.
I recently read a post on a website about advanced breast cancer that aptly referred to the pattern of scan–treat-repeat in which I currently find myself. I see my oncologist once a month. My visit includes getting blood work, consultation with the doctor, adjustments to medications as needed, and three injections.
To date, I have had three PET scans and one CT scan. I have been encouraged by the results and, by extension, by the efficacy of my treatments. I have at times almost forgotten the seriousness of my diagnosis.
And, then, the coronavirus erupted. The warnings about quarantine, wearing masks and maintaining proper social distance are cause for concern for everyone, but even more so for those of us over 65 and in treatment for cancer and with a compromised immune system. As a result, I have become almost a hermit, only venturing out for my medical appointments and a couple of trips to the grocery store.
The current situation is very unnerving. Even my medical appointments are somewhat surreal. My husband cannot accompany me, which he always does. Everyone must have a temperature check and wear a mask. We must put our purses into plastic bags. Lastly, in the waiting area we must avoid sitting in seats marked Unavailable.
Most establishments in our area have reopened, but I remain hesitant to go out to eat. We’re still doing takeout once a week. I did venture out to get a haircut, which I desperately needed. An evening walk in the neighborhood offers some fresh air and brief contact with other people.
But I cannot live in a bubble forever. So, I will continue my routine of scan-treat-repeat- and hopefully continue to expand my world a little at a time.