My New Reality

A couple of weeks ago, I received news that I never expected, not that I'd never thought about it. I was diagnosed with, to use the cold language of medicine, "invasive ductal carcinoma" of the left breast. In other words, breast cancer. To further complicate matters, a few days after that, I was told that the cancer was HER2 positive, which means that it was of a more aggressive type. HER is an acronym for a very long name of a protein that attaches itself to the receptors of the cancer calls, and actually HELPS them to grow. Nasty stuff.

Thus, my original prescribed course of treatment -- a lumpectomy followed by radiation -- was changed to months of chemotherapy, followed by surgery,  radiation, and immunotherapy. A process that will take about a year, if I'm lucky. More on that "luck" thing in a minute.

The good news (and I'm always looking for it) is that the drugs that target this cancer specifically are very effective. They block HER2 and therefo…