It occurs to me since my post last week that many people think I'm closer to death than we have any reason to believe I am in fact. I can tell because some brave folks actually come up to me, hug me, and ask what they can do for me, instead of just gazing dolefully at me from a distance with Sad Cancer Eyes. I want to clear a few things up so that people neither think I'm being attention-seeking (more than usual) nor that they need to organize me a spaghetti dinner fundraiser.
Thing #1: The tumor may have grown a little bit, but then again, it may not have.
When I pressed Dr. M. for details, he said the increase in tumor height appeared to be 0.1-0.2 mm. That could represent something other than active tumor growth, like a measurement error or non-cancery swelling.
Thing #2: If the tumor has grown, there are treatment options.
The most likely first option would be transpupillary thermotherapy, or a laser beam aimed into my eye to incinerate the tumor growth. This is an outpatient procedure. I would not especially enjoy having to have it, but it would make me feel a little badass, so there's that.
Thing #3: You can still feel a little sorry for me if you want, because I will probably have to have a needle full of expensive cancer drug injected DIRECTLY INTO MY EYEBALL.
That would also make me feel a little badass, but it's expensive medicine, and, hello, NEEDLE IN EYE. Also with upsetting, and non-glamorous side effects. If it made my eye glow, that would be cool.
Thing #4: Even if the tumor has grown, it doesn't necessarily affect my chances of metastasis, which are based on the genetic makeup of the tumor.
This is according to Dr. M. He said this development does not increase the chances of metastasis, which are roughly 21%. So, if you want to believe someone who's been practicing medicine at a world-renowned hospital for less than two decades instead of someone who's been an experienced hypochondriac all her life, you go with that.
Thing #5: I'm still going to talk about death and grief and anxiety and fear up in here, because 21% > 0%.
It's just how I process things. While the chance of death from metastasis of this tumor is about 21%, the chance of death from life is 100%, so I'd be foolish to ignore it entirely. I am, necessarily, of two minds. It is likely that I still have a good bit of life ahead of me, I must live it, or else I waste however long I have. But there also exists a reasonable possibility my life will be significantly shortened, and if I ignore that, I risk avoiding the planning and processing that will make things easier and better for me and my family. I'll be doing some of that pondering in this space, so if it freaks you out, I'll understand if you don't want to read it. If it makes you feel any better, I wish I didn't have to write it.