ordering from the cancer menu

Navigating the myriad of doctor’s appointments, lab results, pathology reports and potential treatment plans has become a full-time job.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this takes precedence over all my other commitments and items on my trusty “to-do list,” but what makes it even more time-consuming and quite honestly overwhelming, is the abundance of choices.

Armed with data, a good pro-con analysis and a splash of  “gut feelings,” I am usually able to successfully and thoughtfully make decisions. My CJ theoretically should be no different. Except that it is. In every way imaginable. Because it’s not just figuring out what wide receiver to play or bench, what lipstick shade to buy, or what to make for dinner – this is on a completely other level.

I recently experienced a paralyzing decision-making moment just days before my surgery, but it was one that I couldn’t have remotely predicted. Since my tumor was estrogen and progesterone positive (otherwise known as ER/PR+ in the cancer world), it meant that those hormones essentially were “feeding” the cancer cells. Bye-bye Mirena IUD – it was fun while it lasted. And lasted it did – I had enjoyed nearly 10 years without a monthly visitor. (Mirena emits small amounts of hormones into the body.) My handbags and bathroom cabinets had been tampon-free since early 2004.

So there I was, suddenly faced with the sobering reality of stocking up for Aunt Flo’s impending visit.  But the last time I had perused the feminine hygiene aisle was the year that the Raiders were in the Superbowl. (I know what you’re thinking…the Oakland Raiders? In the Superbowl? They were…good?) And in that decade, the feminine hygiene shelves had exploded. Tampons of every brand and size now surrounded me. (I remember the good ol’ days of regular, super and pinky slim. Now the options had expanded to include light, ultra, and super-plus.) And the names had changed!   Sport, Gentle Glide 360, Radiant, No-grip-slip, Pro-Comfort and Sleek, to name a few. I was confused: which was right for me? Was it the pink box with the girl running on the front (Sport), or was it the  girl dressed up for a night out on the town with skirt, heels and necklace ready for wherever the evening took her be it dancing or dining (360)?

Obviously a decision of this magnitude required reinforcements, so I called in the cavalry and “phoned a friend.”

JG: Help! I’m at Ride-Aid and I don’t know what kinds of tampons to buy. It’s so confusing.

LKS: I buy the Playtex brand, Sport or 360 something.

JG: Okay there’s both here. Scented? Super? Super plus? Variety Pak? Does yours have a runner on the front or a disco dancer?

LKS: I think mine has a runner.

JG: Am I more of an athlete or a party girl? Which tampon box best describes me?  The girl in the dress has a cute necklace on….

LKS: Oh, get that one, for sure. That sounds fun. 

[And don’t even get me started on the plethora of options for pads. Wings or no wings, etc. Sigh.]

My CJ is not very different from that little trip to the drugstore. M and I have talked nonstop about it for two days, forwards and backwards. We’ve seen some excellent doctors, discussed options with varying risk scenarios, analyzed reports, and we still have more work to do and potentially more tests to run (if we want). Different doctors have discussed different potential paths with us and as we sort through the data, and try to pay careful attention to our  “gut feelings,” I find myself longing for the simplicity of a pink box with a cute necklace on the front to steer us down the right path.

Wish us luck!



3 Responses

  1. Jen! I am catching up on the pinkness … For some reason I failed to subscribe completely …. I just unloaded a cabinet full of fem hygiene supplies …. Shoulda called me! Dang I love your humor! Need a catch up. Xo

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