No question perhaps highlights the frustration of breast cancer than the one I am frequently asked:
So how is Lori doing?
You see... physically she is doing perfectly fine.
At least... she has been doing perfectly fine up until today when they will inject her with various noxious, toxic chemicals to make her worse so that in the end she will theoretically be better.
This is the conundrum of early stage breast cancer.
There are no physical signs.
You are not "sick" in any noticeable way.
You feel perfectly fine.
In fact, my wife is probably in the best physical shape she's ever been in. She's walking 5-6 miles a day and just in great shape all around.
You would have no clue that inside her MAY lurk a few random cells that can morph and evolve in such a way that they can cause other problems and even death.
It would be much easier in so many ways if she was sick in some way. With some other forms of cancer, the pain and sickness are very apparent.
You are sick... therefore you need drugs and other treatments to make you better.
But with early stage breast cancer you have no signs.
You are dealing entirely with hypothetical situations.
The studies say that you have a 60% chance of not having cancer after 10 years if you do this.
The studies say that you have a 70% chance of not having cancer after 10 years if you do this.
The studies say that you have a 90% chance of not having cancer after 10 years if you do this.
With again the reality that
you might not have any cancer in you today...
... if only we had some way to know.
But we don't.
And so, as a friend said to me this morning, we are "going on faith".
Faith in the medical system. Faith in the doctors and nurses who have been treating her - and all the research and analysis they have done. Faith in the scientists who have performed all these studies and spent the long hours in their research. Faith in the accuracy of the very human people who have been administering all these fancy tests - and in the designers behind all the software and systems.
Faith in the fact that this course of treatment that will make her very sick in the short term will give her better chances in the long-term.
Going on faith.
It's insanely frustrating, but in the end it's all we have...