I am relatively silent on a lot of things in my blog. Mortality, especially. I promised my husband and son that I would be okay, and I really don't know what to do about the possibility I might not. Today I read Louise's link to another blog-- Cancer, Baby that CancerBaby's ovarian cancer has recurred. I have a friend who has ovarian cancer and they've told her that it is a chronic disease. She's has three bouts, but she's seeing her kids grow up and doing all those important things. Part of me wants to start rushing in and saying that there are lots of things they can do and they can do more every year and that's all true, but CancerBaby may die.
And I may die. My cancer is in remission, but I have a 30% to 40% chance of relapse. If I relapse, they do a stem cell transplant (a nasty procedure that involves pumping up my own bone marrow cell production to horrendous and painful levels, harvesting the cells, and then giving me massive doses of chemo to kill everything, including my bone marrow. Then they re-introduce my bone marrow and hope it comes back on line.) If I have a relapse, and a stem cell transplant, the chances of success are 50%-50%.
Overall, chances are 75%-85% that I'll live. But I don't talk about the other 15%-25%. In some sense, I expect to live, and so I feel as if I'm trying for unearned sympathy if I talk about mortality. On the other hand, who wants to talk about mortality? I know some people just can't. "Let's not talk about that now," they say. Okay. So we don't. Hodgkins is the good cancer, the survivable cancer. Right up until, for some of us, it isn't. I'm trying to be a survivor. I'm in remission. One chemo to go and then, hopefully, I walk away from Planet Cancer for good. I visit my oncologist for check-ups and make his day better because I'm a good news patient. I say hello to Jeannette and Pam and Tammi and Kelly and all the nurses who saved my life. I don't die for many many years.
I mean, that's the plan.
I don't mind being dead, it's getting there that seems so awful.