What Have I Done to Deserve This Pain?

While the title may sound whiny, I am at a loss as to reasons my life is ending this way. I suffered from arthritis since my 40s I required 7 back surgeries during my 50s and life was constantly painful. Prior to the back surgeries, I was an avid hiker- did the Grand Canyon 5 times rim to rim in one day almost every year as well as hiking other trails in National Parks. I taught college psychology for 23 years and was chair of my department for 12 years, and I loved my job but the pain from arthritis forced me into retirement at 62.

A lump was found

On my 72nd birthday, I found the lump on my right breast- at age 35 my youngest daughter was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer- we have no genetic markers for breast cancer. She survived with a lumpectomy. In December I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was quite hopeful that I would have a similar outcome as my daughter.

Dislocated hips

In January of 2019 metastasis was found via PET scan in my left hip, which had been giving me a lot of pain. I was started on Ibrance and Arimidex- my WBCs took a dive and I ended up with diverticulitis and a 4-day hospitalization.The oncologist lowered my dose of Ibrance. Last fall I had a left hip replacement which dislocated twice after three weeks and was redone with a different socket a month later. Dislocated hips are extremely painful!

Increased metastasis

This Spring my scans showed increasing metastasis in my pelvis, spine, shoulder, and liver. My oncologist changed my chemotherapy to Faslodex for breast cancer- 2 extremely painful injections in my hips. He also started me on Piqray a new oral medication that is causing extreme nausea. I take the usual medications for pain which work most of the time- but also cause constipation.

The impact of cancer on families

I rarely have a normal stool because if I am not constipated I am having diarrhea
I am fortunate to have 2 loving adult daughters who unfortunately live out of state but come to the rescue when times get tough. My husband of 27 years recently had a psychological breakdown and isn’t able to offer me much physical assistance or empathy. He also has estranged us from his 5 grandchildren, twins boys aged 4, granddaughters ages 6 and 8, and grandson, 10 who are the love of my life- again my illness and COVID 19 have kept me away.

Finding my light despite the progression

Besides my daughters, I have many close friends who would be with me in an instant if it were not for COVID 19. I know I have whined enough and on most days I put up the brave face! Maybe it is because I am going to be 74 this winter with a slight hope of traveling any time soon to visit my daughters and grandchildren that adds to my melancholy - so whenever I read the “joyful journey” that many cancer patients report, I am a bit resentful that my journey is not progressing well. I don’t expect pity- I just needed to get my side of the story out there!

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