perspective in grey (by laurie)

On June 30th it will be three years since my first clean scan, after the cancer had spread to my liver.

For almost three years, I have had no evidence of disease (been NED, in cancer lingo).

And yet I remain in treatment.

I am asked frequently why I continue to receive chemotherapy and Herceptin, if there is no sign of cancer in my body. And the truth is that I often ask myself the same question. Certainly, I don’t feel like I have cancer. And I do feel that the cumulative effects – both physical and emotional of ongoing treatment are wearing me down.

I am stuck in cancer’s grey area.

My oncologist said to me last summer, “For all we know, you could be cured.”

We just don’t know enough.

Another oncologist I spoke to, hinted that some would take me out of treatment at this point. A third suggested that some doctors might take me off the chemotherapy and leave me on the Herceptin.

But they all agree that we just don’t know enough to make any decision based on certainty. There are just too few women in my situation, younger women who have been diagnosed with metastatic breast and responded so well to treatment, to know what to do with us in the long term.

There are more of us every year, though.

In ten years’ time, there will almost certainly be more answers.

And when I get too frustrated, I remind myself that if I had been diagnosed ten years earlier, I would almost certainly be dead.

So, for now, I’ll take the grey.


3 Responses to perspective in grey (by laurie)

  1. Stella says:

    I’ll take it with you! Every day we’re one step closer to knowing the answers!!!

  2. It’s a little like Russian Roulette isn’t it. I remember when I was first diagnosed and trying to decide which chemo to choose. I had read about people who chose to not go through treatment , just go the natural healing route, and many were fine. But as great as that seemed, I was never able to make that step–I always said that my belief in science was stronger than my belief in God. For you it must be even worse since it seems to be working so well; and there is always the “what if” factor. What if I stop the treatment and it comes back? I’m sure I would do exactly what you are doing…it sounds like you are in good hands with your doctors. Stay strong!

  3. Jill says:


    I’ll take the gray with you and Stella.

    My heart aches that you have to continue taking chemo, but it rejoices in the fact that you’re here sharing your lovely words with us.



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