This is a very special year for me…the 61st year of life! I never dreamed I would see it!
Today, despite undergoing five major surgeries in five years, battling a late staged cancer, and expending more lives than the average alley cat, I have lived five years longer than my grandfather or any of his six siblings, who all (except for one) died between the ages of 54 and 56 years of age.
Five years…doesn’t seem like much to the ordinary soul, but, today, when the average lifespan is 78.7 years, it equates to 6.3% of human life. Not bad. The great news is today, we live!
Every day, we give thanks to to genetic testing and to our wonderful medical teams. Thank goodness, they don’t subscribe to the basic NCCN standards. They pay close attention to family history when determining the screening tests, read the studies and don't rely upon others, without the personal knowledge of us and our family histories, to set the guidelines for us.
Had they not done what they do, today, I would be fighting the cancers of my family-- skin cancer, breast cancer and other cancers, which have occurred as a pattern in other family members. Personalized medicine is a good thing…standardized guidelines for all, are not so good.
During this next week, following Saturday’s celebration of a wonderful year, is its aftermath--the barrage of screenings, in preparation for yet another great one! The blood and urine tests, and urological scope have been completed.
Urological scope? Why, you ask? My father, his father and two of his uncles had urological cancers of Lynch syndrome. It is simply a good idea. Lynch cancers often run in patterns within families.
So far, no significant worries there for another year, except for some some anemia, and most likely the result of eating less red meat during the past year. There is also the recurrance of tri-geminal neuralgia, which reentered my life after ten years, probably induced by stress, but what’s a girl to do, huh?
In my case, it is listen to the Doc, eat a balanced diet, cut back on red meat, eat leafy, colorful veggies, cut back on carbs, get some more exercise, including yoga, and take some iron supplements! And...slow down a bit. Therefore, unapologetically, the shop was closed this last weekend as I laid in a lawn chair with a nice, cold green tea served in a hurricane glass, and with a pretty little umbrella. Easy enough to follow...simple enough for a cave man. (Please excuse if the cave man reference offends anyone...don't want any more stressful emails from those easily offended.)
The rest of this week’s lineup? Colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, dermatological scan (our specific mutation has the subset of Muir Torre. Sebaceous and other tumors are regularly removed,) and a kidney ultrasound.
No more extensive OB-GYN screenings for me…the breasts have been removed, as a result of the positive test of the tumor of a close family member which indicated the tumor WAS a result of Lynch syndrome, completed by another genetic professional. (Hopefully studies will come soon, which will give a firm “yay” or “nay” or in the very least, produce guidelines, urging prudence and assessment of family history!) With every person in our family experiencing a Lynch cancer by the age of 56, we are taking no chances here!
So, if all goes well, life will ease on for another year, and then another, and yet another! That’s the way it is supposed to work, and you know what? When it is done right, it does!
With immense gratitude to our physicians!