Every woman, by virtue of being a woman, has a 12% chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime, and a 2% chance of getting ovarian cancer. For 90% of women who get cancer, it is not genetic.
There are, however, six genes that — if mutated or damaged — indicate a 40% chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer. Four of these genetic mutations produce visible signs, the other two can be found with a blood test.
Since I got breast cancer, it may be that I am one of the 12% who have a genetic mutation. If I do, this has implications for everyone I share blood with. Particularly scary is the ovarian cancer, because that is an extremely lethal form of cancer — mostly because they can’t spot it until it is a Stage 3 cancer, and there are few options at that point.
So I am normal, with a normal chance of getting a new cancer. YAY.
Yesterday (Monday) was 5 days post-chemo, and so far things are going remarkably similar to how they went the first time ’round. Saturday evening I started getting the achy bones, so I went on Dilaudid right away. When I woke up yesterday no painkiller was needed. Yes, just like that.
I was quite tired all day — not the same as the enervating lassitude of Saturday (the worst day) — but a literal tiredness. Chemo, and the steroids, upsets my sleep cycle — I keep having to get up in the night, about every 90 mins-2 hours. I rest, but I don’t get the really good REM/dream sleep.
Last night I went down for a good 4-5 hours at a time. Heaven.
In other good news: I got the genetic test results back from my counselor. (OOPS. I never mentioned this. OK, upcoming post.)
For now: I am not mutated. I am normal. Seriously, this is the FIRST good health news I’ve gotten since late August. It is VERY good news.
I’m on day 2 post-chemo #2 and its going about as expected.
First of all, a recap of the day. Had a great meeting with my oncologist — have I mentioned before how much I like him? I do, very much. He’s really happy with my progress and we’re feeling good about how this is all going.
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It’s just not that pretty.
But its what I look like now.
(And yes, I do feel like my image is much more like scruffy chick just barely dried than Sinead O’Connor.)
Yesterday I got a chance to go outside with my camera and capture what is going on in my garden. It’s terribly exciting!
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My two sisters and I.
Sadly, nothing more recent. I think it’s time we got one!
First off: my fever broke Wed night. I took it easy yesterday, but am back to work today (tho’ likely not for the full day). Things are starting to get a bit critical and I’m needed on site.
Most importantly: on time, and unmistakably, I am losing my hair.
My advice for anyone who may read this because they are in a similar situation: if you think you are losing your hair, you aren’t.
My scalp has hurt for a few days, but that so easily could have been the fever. This morning I got up and into the shower and stepped under the water. Hands running through my hair pulled out bunches. Even though I was (sort of ) expecting this it was a very bad moment. A freak-out kind of moment.
I cut my hair short in expectation (dread) of this. I am so glad I did. Losing your hair is — and I recognize that this is entirely a me thing — losing your hair is MESSY. Seriously, it get s everywhere. Long hair would have been unbearable. Not because of the loss, but because I would have hair in my eyes ALL THE TIME or look down to see a clump just lying on my sleeve. Ugh.
Yes, this happened 30 mins ago. Mourning will occur later. For now, I am glad I listened to my intuition and prepared for this . . . I have so much hair it is going to take a bit for it all to go. I feel ‘safe’ going to work . . . but they’ll be surprised on Monday.
This video shows the winner of “Ukraine’s Got Talent”, Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which absolutely defines ‘off beat’ is mesmeric to watch. The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about £75,000.
Kseniya Simonova’s Art
You can go and watch it and come back here to find out more about the images shown, or read this first. Either way, I promise you that you will not regret the eight minutes you give to this woman’s art.
- She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.
- It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.
- She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.
- This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.
- In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.
The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed. In real terms, this was nearly 11 million deaths. I was struck as much by her music choices (and recognized the final song).
I can’t upload this to my blog, but the link should take you there. It’s a lovely visual and aural version of an Irish Blessing.
But not, please note, ‘the’ Irish Blessing, which was spoken as grace in my grandparent’s house, and is one of my dearest memories of my grandfather.
Traditional Irish Blessing