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She's A 10 But Swears Like A Sailor

If I'm crying you might want to walk away because chances are I'm most likely enraged. Sometimes from sadness, when I'm missing someone during important life events.

Crying from pure joy is rare, I'm not sure why as I feel contentment and happiness often during the day. But pure unadulterated joy that spurs deep emotion isn't often.

I had one hour until the radiologist called for a phone consultation, since I hadn't worked out when I woke up I headed downstairs to fill the hour with some sweat and lifting heavy things. When the phone rang in my earbuds looking at the number I assumed it was the radiologist, I answered expectantly.

Instead on the other end of the line was the oncologist, she had my Oncotype testing results. Cue holding your breath. Even though I have a solid foundation and focus there is always the looming deadlines overhead. Do I need chemo? Do I need radiation? Can I plan to go to Germany to see our son?

She told me the number and just that morning on a phone call with a friend I told her I was channelling the number 20. I could live with making solid decisions with that number as my cut-off for needing treatments was 25. When I discussed this number with the Naturopath I initially told him I was hoping for 15 he laughed and said most people get around 22.

Needless to say, I was speechless when she said 10....10!!!! 10! 10! 10! OMFG!!!

She has never seen a result that low.

I don't need chemotherapy and radiation would be discussed with the radiologist. Hormone blocker therapy is obviously still the one modality for treatment I will need as my cancer is hormone-fueled. Drugs such as Tamoxifen put women into early menopause which for this fairly close to menopause lady seems to be an okay trade-off. There are some side effects obviously but I can navigate those if they arise.

Hanging up the phone I didn't know who to share the news with first, obviously with my husband he was out in a combine and then my kids. Followed by friends and family who have been asking often when I would find out the results. As the gravity of the results sank in I was sobbing with joy. Pure elation. I couldn't stop, I just let it go.

This photograph was taken on one of my morning walks when as I was going down the road when from the sky a feather floated down and landed beside me.

I've spent a lot of time in nature and never had that happen before. It was surreal.

I took it as a sign that the angels up above were watching me. And let's be honest I think I've been shit on by birds from the sky far more than this magical moment with a feather floating beside me. So we're going to roll with a divine meaning behind it.

That feather felt like hope, like everything would be okay and this was 20 days ago.

Like everything in life, there are highs and lows. And with every positive result, there is another choice to be made on the cancer journey.

Now the next phone call right on time was the radiologist. After she informed me of the symptoms I could experience for up to 20 years later from radiation (1-2% chance) she asked if I was interested in joining the study group. A little overwhelmed and disheartened by the thought of going through radiation I told her I needed time to think about it.

The study aims to prove whether women who do not receive radiation have the same outcome as those who do in early-stage breast cancer. Essentially eliminating people in the future from having to make the decision I now face. The statistics state there is a 9% increase in survival rates with hormone blockers and radiation. Now they're looking to eliminate one of those and of the two radiation is more harmful.

Initially, my first thoughts were I didn't want radiation at all. Especially after the side effects were listed. If you participate you have a 50/50 chance of having radiation or none. It's a randomized trial. One benefit of the study is you have regular check-ups at the Cross Cancer for years and they monitor you closely. The one advantage is not being kicked out into the abyss and then having to find your way back if something goes awry in the future.

Do I leave the choice up to the heavens and a random assignment of radiation or not? I'll be honest the voice deep down inside me has literally saved me, the nagging thought of you need to contact the doctor for the barely sore breast I had in April. The push to get mastectomy surgery sooner by forgoing reconstruction. All of it was the right decision. It gets tiring trying to navigate these massive decisions that play with your life.

For the next week, I'll take some time to think about it and talk with my family and friends. What will be is meant to find its way.

It's hunting season, I'm finally able to pull my bow this week and I learned to use a climber tree stand which for a person who was terrified of being in a ladder tree stand four years ago is a pretty big deal. Time spent in nature usually has a way of answering these deep questions for me.

To be honest there's been so much good news that I focus on all the amazing things that have happened up until this point. Instead of being overwhelmed by new decisions.

More good news! Last week my colonoscopy which by the way was the same doctor who did my mastectomy; (true story you can't make this up). Gave me a clean bill of health with a clear colon report!

Sending You Love N' SUP,

Lisa Stocking

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