One of the many annoying traits of DCIS is its ambiguity. It’s classified as Grade 0 (out of 3). I was always a bit rubbish at maths but even I know that 0 means 0 and that you can’t be something and nothing at the same time.
There is debate within the medical community as to whether it’s actually cancer or not. It’s hard to know whether those with DCIS will get the full blown Big C, because if it’s identified, it’s treated. Those who are treated are four times more likely to get Cancer later. So to my mind the connection is obvious. Either way, my already high risk profile has been ramped up another notch.
My lovely friend Carol had this same condition back in 1997, aged 28. Today she is the picture of health and a true inspiration to me. Anyway she has this to say on the is it/isn’t it debate:
even my consultants couldn’t agree on the terminology, until the Australian one in typical no nonsense form said ‘bullshit’ to the ‘not really’ theory, saying to me I’d had it explained to me very badly and ‘either you have cancer or you don’t and you had cancer’.
One benefit of downplaying it is it helps me to contain my worry and stay optimistic, which I’ve just got to do if I’m going to stare this down. I have been feeling bullish and okay, I kept questioning whether I was really okay or just being repressed and pretending. But my sense of okayness stood up to my robust scrutiny.
Or at least it did until the middle of last night when I did properly cry, perhaps for the first time, when I read email responses from UK-based close friends and family whose love and concern reverberated across the planet. Not only was I side-swiped by homesickness, I felt guilt and sorrow for my siblings who were clearly revisiting the grief of losing our folks, which in turn stirred up dormant pain for me.
It’s as if my worry was contained like mercury in a beaker, and sharing it last night was like climbing up a ladder and upsetting the contents. Please forgive me for being a metaphor-murderer, or at least a taker of metaphors into dark alleys, beating them and leaving them for dead.
Yes, there’s no doubt that spreading the news is like sending it down an echo chamber where it comes back up at you amplified. But that’s okay, it’s all part of my reality and I just have to sit with these feelings and try to work out the lesson from them rather than raise up my quills to defend against The Fear. Last night’s lesson was that I am very deeply loved and missed. Not such a bad thing to discover.
Another positive is that in a strange way this experience gives me an opportunity to connect with everyone on a non-superficial level. It just sweeps away the trivial and brings what matters into sharp relief.
With my meeting with the surgeon planned for this afternoon I’ve been pooling the mercury back into the beaker so I can stay focused and calm throughout the meeting.
I find I can just about keep my cool provided I don’t invoke my kids. Too much of that mental chatter takes a grenade to that beaker and detonates the mother fucker. But more of that later. Maybe.
Thanks again for stopping by, I really am grateful for everyone’s deep love and support.