One more thing to worry us

Because breast cancer survivors don’t have enough to worry about, now there’s this: the FDA reported that women with breast implants have a small but slightly increased risk of developing anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare disease typically affecting 3 out of 100 million women.

While ALCL is rare, it seems that women with implants may have a “very small but increased risk of developing the disease in the scar capsule adjacent to the implant.” ALCL is a cancer involving cells of the immune system, which scars the fool out of me.  Scarier still is that this immune system cancer can appear anywhere in the body. ALCL is not breast cancer, but it can show up there, or anywhere else. Thankfully it is very rare: 1 in 500,000 women a year in the United States, and it’s even more rare to develop ALCL in the breast (3 in 100 million). Whew!

And while all women with implants could be at risk, whether their implants are for reconstruction or recreation, for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on breast cancer survivors who have implants.

WTH???

Really?? After surviving breast cancer, enduring reconstruction and getting on with life, we also have to worry about this? You’d like to think (at least I would) that as a cancer survivor, you’ve suffered enough (I know I have). But apparently there’s no end to the the amount of suffering spewed by the dreaded cancer.

I’m so sick of cancer.

One of my bookclub buddies, herself an 11-year breast cancer survivor, just had to make a quick run to Alabama to visit her “surrogate mom” at the lake who appears to be losing her cancer battle.

My beloved aunt is recovering from surgery last week to remove part of a stage IV glioblastoma. I don’t even need to tell y’all how bad a stage IV glio is. Get well soon, Thea Sophia.

I saw a story on the Today Show about a 3-year-old girl who had a mastectomy (yes, you read that right, she was t-h-r-e-e years old) for a rare but early-striking form of breast cancer.

My tennis teammate and dear friend who endured diagnosis and a double mastectomy and has completed 5 of her 6 chemo treatments is battling hard, and she is an admirable warrior. This stupid disease has changed her body and robbed her of tennis for all these months. It’s forced her to live way outside of her comfort zone and to learn lessons she’d rather remain ignorant of, all the while still driving carpool, making dinner, overseeing homework, and keeping the household running. The battle has taken a lot out of her, but she still has a lot of fight left in her. And she looks amazingly beautiful in her sassy headscarf. Chemo may have taken her hair and has tried to commandeer her brain, but it can’t take away her smile and her fortitude.

I miss my mom every single day, and every single day I curse the wretched disease that took her life, too young and too soon. I could write all day and all night and not run out of things I miss about her. Stupid cancer.

Then there’s my own cancer battle.

I’m not a candidate for implants myself, since the post-mastectomy infection that snaked through my chest wall took its pound of flesh from the right side. I thought I was getting the short end of the stick by having to endure a much more complicated surgery and recovery than that required for implants. Perhaps I was wrong. Although who knows what the FDA will find as risky for breast cancer survivors who opt for different reconstruction methods. We can’t win for trying.

The good news is that I do indeed have a surgery date (gulp). My impatience, which I blogged about on Monday, paid off, so all those naysayers out there who were going to tell me that good things come to those who wait can shut it. Thank you.

Sonia, Dr Spiegel’s nurse, called me Tuesday morning to tell me that Dr Spiegel and Dr S had a meeting of the minds and found a date that works for both of them. Gulp.

It’s March 2nd.

Texas Independence Day. My cousin Ross’s birthday (hey, cuz). Also celebrating birthdays on that day: Dr Seuss, Sam Houston, and Reggie Bush. Oh, and my new boobs.

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2 Comments on “One more thing to worry us”

  1. Ed says:

    What kind of birthday present do you give to boobs? I saw that article yesterday and thought of you. I didn’t forward it because you aren’t getting implants and, hey, who needs more worrisome information rattling around in their head. Unfortunately, as you well know, you are never done with cancer recovery. It’s like a lens through which you will now see everything. Hopefully you get some good (like appreciating the everyday things you once took for granted) from this new “vision” you have in exchange for all the ugly you now see and cannot ignore.

  2. Christy says:

    Saw that same article. Cancer sucks!

    Ed’s right…you are so close to the rainbow and something good will come from this; other than your new perky big boobs, of course!


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