Cancer arrives at the home of the Outsider

So the wife has Cancer. And before you get all upset, let me tell you that for bad news, this news is as good as it gets. Let me try to explain.

A few years ago, some of Cís cousins started to drop from breast and ovarian cancer. They were tested and found to be possessors of a genetic mutation that made them much more likely to contract these type of cancers during their lifetimes. A lot more likely. The numbers are hard to pin down right now, and so much of cancer diagnosis and survival expectation comes down to simple probability. The numbers go as high as 90% likely to contract breast cancer over the course of a lifetime. Big numbers.

Because this mutation is passed down to family members, Cís family was encouraged to get tested for this mutation. Again with the strict probabilities, half of the siblings tested positive. Again with the good news: the ones that tested positive do not have children, so this shit stops right here. That doesnít make it any less of a tragedy for the two that are affected, but at least this problem wonít be passed to our nieces and nephews and their descendents.

So back to current day. Because she tested positive for this mutation, the folks at the cancer treatment center have been watching her like a hawk. She gets a mammogram once a year, and alternating on a six month schedule, she also gets an MRI diagnostic of her tissues. It was this most recent MRI that detected an anomaly in the breast tissue, something that hadnít shown up on the mammogram six months previous. The center called her back in and cut her open and excised a bit of tissue near the spot of concern and analyzed the tissue. This test showed that she had Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ deep inside her breast tissue. Did I mention that this is good news?

DCIS is a non-invasive carcinoma. That means that it is not spreading and isnít particularly dangerous. Itís been detected early enough and is completely treatable. She goes into surgery in a couple of weeks, and there is every indication that they will be able to completely remove the suspect tissue, plus what they call a ďmarginĒ around that spot, just to ensure that all of the dangerous cells will be removed. She will have to receive radiation treatment, but not chemotherapy. There is no reason to believe that she will have a reoccurrence of this problem in that breast.

There is still some reason to be concerned. She still has another breast that has the same probability of having some sort of cancer as the troublesome breast has shown, and the remaining tissue in the problem breast also has that same probability. She could still get cancer in the remaining breast tissue, and having received radiation therapy there, she would not be eligible for this same type of treatment in that breast again. But thatís all in the future. For now, her problem has been detected, and is going to be treated, and sheís going to be all better. See, breast cancer, if undetected and left untreated, kills you by spreading out to distant points in your body and growing in multiple sites. But if itís found early enough, it is eminently treatable. Cís particular type of cancer doesnít even do that, as itís non-invasive, and wouldnít break up and spread. There is concern that, if left alone, it might change to this invasive, more dangerous kind. Hence the removal has been scheduled. But sheís going to be healthy, if a bit uncomfortable for a while. And thatís where I come in. Iím going to take care of her and love her for all Iím worth, and we will enjoy each otherís company as long as fate will allow us toÖ

This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb.You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion...

This document was last modified on December 20, 2007, and has been viewed countless times.