A lady that I recently came to know had been diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2005. This is a stage where there is a reasonable chance for a cure–one where the cancer never comes back.
In 2010, after five years, the cancer came back to other parts of her body. It was now stage 4. With any type of stage 4 cancer, there is little hope that treatments will cure the cancer. Instead the goal of the treatments is to, for as long as possible, keep the cancer from spreading.
The cancer in her had been at a standstill. Today I found out the latest medical tests showed there was “minor” progression of the cancer.
The progression was deemed minor because it hadn’t grown much, but it was considered a major concern because the cancer had invaded her bones.
Cancer in the bones won’t kill someone. Rather it just weakens the bones and causes problems as the bones loose strength. The concern is that the cancer now has a “home base” from which it can attack other organs.
So, now she needs more treatment.
When cancer advances, the treatments become more desperate and more damaging to the body. Eventually a point can be reached where the treatments are as life threatening as the cancer. It is like a game of chess where the king becomes more and more trapped–eventually reaching the point where no move will eliminate the danger.
This is where hospice is called.
This is what happened to my fiancee.
Remember when I said the lady had been originally diagnosed at stage 2?
Tomorrow it will be three years since my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at stage 3.
Today is one of the days where I need to work extra hard to remind myself of the quote, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”