I am impressed how many people asked me today if I was cleared to go to Iceland–you’ve been paying attention and let’s face it–we all need a vacation. It has been a historically awful, long, no good, horrible winter and working with and keeping it real with adolescents is hard, gritty work. Even the kids need a break –I listened to my advisory students grouse all week about the mountains of tests, papers and work they had before clearing out. This morning the kids came together in community, commiserated and then were off, scattered to different ends of the globe until we reconvene at 9:30 a week from Monday.
Back to ME! No, I haven’t heard yet. Now for the grim ruminations that have been bubbling around the edges. Yes, I am way less anxious now that treatment has commenced, sleeping better and needing to be talked off of the high wire less and less, in large part to my circles of support—YOU!!
So what’s bothering me? Another blogger, having finished initial treatment wrote:
“While in treatment, I had been surrounded by the world’s best army: my supportive family and friends and a brilliant medical team who had worked tirelessly to keep me alive. The goal had been to cure the cancer. Now that I had survived the “cut, poison, burn” of the disease, I no longer had the cavalry running after me. Suddenly, I found myself standing dazed and alone in the rubble, wondering what had happened and where everyone had gone.”
This resonates with me on so many levels. I woke up March 11 in a pile of rubble. This time my treatment team had shrunk to my elderly oncologist (who has only known me as “well” since he took over when my initial oncologist left to go into research and yes, we cried) and his NP. Gone is the cavalry, leaving me standing alone as a treatment failure. I feel like I have somehow pissed him off for not staying in remission. This is compounded by the very real and very sad realization that women with recurrence like me are not a priority. We are not curable anymore, wrecking their stats. Less than 7% of money donated to Breast Cancer Research is spent on us–dead women walking who are well beyond their pink ribbon flying days. Too dark? Yup, I get it.
How it matters today is that the flipping lab and my doctor can’t seem to get their wires connected, if they even are trying, and my doctor is not all that concerned about my vacation plans and the non-refundable money spent. I feel forgotten or somehow marginalized by the very person entrusted with my (our) life. Screw It!! Tim and I have decided we are going to Iceland, with or without “permission”. We need a change of altitude and attitude and a long discussion about going to Dana Farber about a second opinion. Yup, I just said it. It’s out there now for speculation and consideration.
Sorry about the Friday night ranting, I’ll be better tomorrow, I promise. I am going to Iceland. I will be texting several of you from the airport for added measure.
Michelle don’t blow anything up. Shannon, hang in there. Bridget and Marissa–please be good in Ireland. Mary Romans–all my love.
Love to all of you who have shown up. Your support is everything.
My song this week: Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice
Barb and the circus xoxo