Which is to say, I still have cancer, and unless something miraculous happens, I will always have cancer. Recurrent endometrial cancer (aka recurrent uterine cancer) is inoperable, incurable, and terminal. There are something like four different forms (I think it’s four) and I have the one with the worst prognosis.
However, it is treatable. My cancer cells have progesterone receptors, which means that doses of progesterone can keep it stabilised at a low level. For how long? Impossible to say. Could be months. Could be a few years. Could be more than a few years. Nobody knows…just like someone without cancer. Technically, I’m still terminal but now the more accurate term would be incurable. My own preference is incorrigible.
I like to think that the longer I live, the longer I’m likely to live but that’s not really true with recurrent endometrial cancer. That’s recurrent endometrial cancer, not a one-time occurrence as most cases of endometrial cancer are. My oncologist made it clear: this can turn around and bite me at any time. If I continue to lose weight (yes, I still need to lose weight) and maintain healthy eating and exercise habits, I’ll increase my chances of living longer. But there are no guarantees either way. There’s no five-year anniversary for me because I’m not in remission. Being in remission would be a miracle.
Correction: being in remission would be a bigger miracle than the one I’m living right now. It is at least slightly miraculous, in my opinion, that I am not looking at the last six months of my life after all; that I am not in pain; that my cancer has decreased to such a minuscule level that my straight-shooter, down-to-earth oncologist who couldn’t crack even a faint smile when we first met now beams at me every time I see her.
Some days, I actually forget I have cancer. Being a cancer patient isn’t all that I am but it’s something I’m always going to be. I live twelve weeks at a time; I make plans only within each twelve week period. I don’t think any farther ahead than that and on week eleven, I don’t even buy green bananas.
That’s okay. Could be worse. Eventually, it will be. But it isn’t today and today is all I have to worry about.