My name is Cass, and I’m an Australian living in the Bay Area, California, USA with my husband, Dave.
This blog documents my journey through cancer. On my birthday in late July, 2017, I went to the ER with severe abdominal pain and emerged with a stage four diagnosis. I was previously asymptomatic and living a full and happy life.
It took six week of diagnostic testing to determine my type of cancer, which is Mixed AdenoNeuroEndocrine Carcinoma (MANEC), with a urachal primary. Cases of MANEC are very rare, MANEC’s with a urachal primary are virtually unheard of, and in someone of my age, an anomaly. According to this journal, I’m one of a handful of cases worldwide.
This rare diagnosis means that my treatment is a crapshoot. There are no protocols to follow, no studies to qualify effective treatments -- there simply aren’t enough of us to test on. It also means that my oncologists can call this whatever they’d like to and put it in whatever box makes sense, opening up many conventional treatment options that might not otherwise be available. Health insurance keeping up is another story.
The universe has a funny sense of humor, and although it took me awhile to get the joke, I do now think I’m in on it. To quote Kris Carr from her book, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, “There [are] no groups for me, no walks, no ribbons, no sisterhood bullshit, nothing.” I don’t mind being a pioneer, although I might have chosen something a bit more fun if given the option!
I will not be a reluctant participant. My goal is use an integrative approach (combining both conventional and alternative treatments) to lengthen the runway for as long as possible, to figure out how to switch this cancer off. I believe I have a great shot at it. We have an amazing extended family and dear friends that have buoyed us through this journey. Deep down, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.
Please join me on the trail; I’d like your company.