Friday, October 7, 2011

The Importance of October

October is here again and the newspapers are full of opinion pieces about the commercialization of breast cancer. People are arguing, yet again, that we are "pink washed" and that this Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes away from other cancer research.

This couldn't be further from the truth. I have been on dozens of drugs that are actively used to treat a plethora of solid tumor cancers like lung, prostate, pancreatic, GI, and liver. Dollars raised for cancer research - any kind of cancer research- are a good thing, period.

It just so happens that pink is a pretty color. Pink resonates with a large segment of the population. Marketing and PR skills, so often used for bad in our country, are finally dedicated to a noble cause. Everyone needs to stop talking, stop criticizing, stop complaining, and simply take action. Stop wasting your breath throwing stones at what is meant to be a positive effort, get off your soapbox, and start taking action for that cancer or cause that stirs your soul. People are dying while we debate the value of the color pink. People are dying- remember that.

There isn't enough pink in this world. Every time someone dies from this terrible, painful, scary disease, another pink ribbon needs to be born. That is why I re-branded my blog for October. Do you like?

As if I needed a reminder, as if I needed another fire lit under my bottom, October 2011 commenced in the Spence household with a harsh reminder of the urgent need for a cure.

Last week, my routine weekly bloodwork showed a sharp increase in my tumor markers. The Good Doctor was concerned; she ordered CT scans. On October 3rd, 2011, I found myself in my familiar CT tunnel fighting back tears.

Here we go again.

My cancer is getting more and more aggressive. The Good Doctor delivered terrible news this week. Instead of two small tumors in my liver, I am now facing a much greater hurdle. There are now "several more" spots in my liver, and the old existing spots have tripled in size. From 7mm to 26mm and 32mm respectively. They also now see spots in both my lungs, and evidence of cancer in my bones. I have small spots in both hip bones and in my low back.

I am scared.

I am looking forward to going to church this weekend. I need consolation and some advice that only prayer can provide. I don't know how to enter this new chapter gracefully. My doctor tells me we are no longer in control. The cancer is in control. We are now the underdog. We now have to fight to regain control.

Don't get me wrong: I plan to fight. I have been screaming at the ceiling. I am only 28. I have only just begun. I have so many hopes and wishes and plans. I want more time. I'm not ready. At the same time, I also don't want to be brave anymore. I don't want to put on a smile and get on with everyday life when I have to fight so hard for every precious moment. I just want to curl up with my loved ones and be cared for. I am tired and I want to stop fighting.

But I can't. There's too much at stake to stop fighting. If breast cancer takes me down, then I'm going to go down swinging.

This October, I'm going to lose my hair for the second time. My wig has been brought out of storage and visited the hairdresser for an update. It stands at the ready in my walk-in closet. It's scaring the dog. She barks at it.

I'll be celebrating breast cancer awareness month with an electric razor and a mirror. How will you be spending your breast cancer awareness month?