Whack-a-Mole Cancer


That’s how a doctor recently described Peg’s cancer. Pops up here, take action; pops up again over there; wait to take action, pops up again in a new location, delay action. But this is no game even though I would love to take a whack at this insidious monster of a disease.

Originally diagnosed as Stage III Breast Cancer, after a year of treatment followed by 18 months of clear scans, the cancer returned in multiple areas. We are now in the dreaded Stage IV. And we are still not done. Popping up unexpectedly was a new, secondary primary cancer discovered in the uterus (whack). This seldom happens we are told. Thanks a lot for the cancer trivia. A hysterectomy was performed (whack) in June and theoretically the cancer is totally removed. Later in June a compression fracture is discovered in the #3 Lumbar area of the spine along with five herniated discs and pain meds are prescribed (whack). July brings hospitalization to find a much needed pain-management specialist, release and rehab, and the discovery of a small fracture in her left humerus making her arm almost non-functioning. No corrective action can be done at this time because it will delay the beginning of a new chemo regimen (weak whack).

Peg came home from rehab last Friday and yesterday we saw our oncologist. We begin chemo once again in two weeks. This time it will start with oral chemo tablets (whack, whack plus the bonus of no hair loss) and if well-tolerated, a different, stronger intravenous chemical will be added to the mix once every three weeks (Yippee Kay-Yay MFC- W-H-A-C-K). The goal is to kill as much current cancer cells as possible, reduce the pain levels, and hopefully resume something that resembles a “normal life” for as long as possible. Of all the assorted chemo regimens, there are no studies that show one method is more successful than another. Our doctor gives her advice as to what she thinks Peg will tolerate the best, with options to change if the results are less than desirable.

If there is one constant throughout this ordeal, it is Peg’s indomitable spirit. If I had the power, I would give her a “Profile in Courage” award for facing every rotten mole pop-up with grace, dignity and humor. She will keep whacking away with every ounce of energy and keep looking to a better future. This is who she is and I admire her so. The other morning I walked by a bouquet of flowers in my living room that some good friends sent and I stopped and took a picture which is shown below. What this picture says to me is that no matter how gray and blurry the situation is that surrounds us, it is always brightened by color; beautiful color from family and friends who are continuously encouraging Peg and me via cards, postings, calls, emails, visits, postal delivery surprises, running errands, cooking,  and just sitting and listening. I can’t help but feel in this cancer arcade, the moles don’t stand a chance.





About Alan G Billingsley

My career has been varied, including time as a newspaper deliverer, lifeguard, bubble gum maker, door-to-door detergent promoter, telephone book proofreader, short order cook, private employment agency counselor and owner, office and credit manger, infantryman, pots and pans salesman, Chinese restaurant cook, Chinese restaurant owner, public employment counselor, budget analyst, tax analyst, grant administrator, radio announcer, radio and television show host, disk jockey, automobile valet, child advocate, and now retiree. I've seldom been bored.
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5 Responses to Whack-a-Mole Cancer

  1. Millie says:

    Thanks for the updates. As a lucky ( and a lot of it is luck ) 31 year BC Survivor I send hugs to my busom buddie. xoxo

  2. rhondabrown1 says:

    Prayers are offered everyday for Peg and you. There are no words to help you at this time but please know that many thoughts are with you. Continue making memories My Friend, they are what will sustain you. Much love!!!

  3. myobt says:

    What a terrible trial for you both. Wishing you better days.

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