Uncertainty is tough. We all deal with it everyday and it’s stressful. Hopefully we all have coping mechanisms to deal with it.
Uncertainty with health is a different level for me and probably for anyone with a chronic or life threatening situation.
Last month my oncologist and I agreed to change my treatment plan because it seemed like it was not effective any longer. That’s a hard thing to process.
While there are “Standard of Care” treatment plans for metastatic breast cancer (MBC), it’s not as black and white as you might think. There is room for the doctor to try to tailor the treatment to the patient. Whenever there is a change in treatment there is opportunity to enroll in a Clinical Research Trial. Trials are important because it is a key part of the process in how new treatments are discovered and approved.
My treatment is standard of care “plus”. In this CRT I’ve enrolled in (postMONARCH) I may be getting additional medication or a placebo. It’s a blind study so I don’t know which I am getting.
I don’t know if it is working. I won’t know until several months have passed.
I will have scans again in early August. This is much sooner than I had been getting them because the CRT requires CT scans every 8 weeks. (That also is concerning to me.)
This morning I received bloodwork for my CA 27-29 tumor marker. It’s jumped up a lot. Way more than it ever has. I don’t know that it means the medication is not working – it’s too early to tell I think. I am reading that sometimes when you start a treatment the counts can spike (Patient Guide to Tumor Markers).
So. Much. Uncertainty.
How do I deal with it? Good question.
- Honor the uncertainty. It’s not helpful to bury my head in the sand and ignore this. It’s not going away so figuring out how to manage my stress about it is important.
- Spend time meaningfully. I feel better when I’m doing something. Keeping busy doing things that I value or spending time with people I care about helps.
- Trust the Science. The science of medicine continues to advance. Medical practitioners go through extensive training to best treat patients. I also believe there is a mind-body connection so mental health is equally important.
- Take care as best as possible. Continue to eat healthy, move as much as I can, sleep. Control those things I can control. (As evidenced in the photos at the end of this post.)
Life is good and it also has terrible elements. Don’t let those bad moments outshine the good.