Can't Quit. Won't Quit.

I’m a member of a few breast cancer support groups on FaceBook. Many women answer a question in terms of their faith supporting them, and feeling that prayers helped their healing. I understand that some people need the support of their faith. I don’t begrudge them something that doesn’t work for me. But I try to give concrete answers to questions. How do you deal with the drain tubes, or getting into/out of a bed with steps, or how to know what reconstruction will entail? Well if I’ve got the same situation, I tend to tell them exactly how I dealt with that.

And today, a woman was talking about her recent diagnosis, saying her doctor recommended a lumpectomy, hormone treatment, and radiation, unless an MRI showed differently, and asking if hormone treatment was the best option. Now I’m no doctor; I don’t even play one on TV. She received a lot of answers about a lumpectomy, and hormone treatment. I answered a question she hadn’t even asked. About what happens if that MRI shows something different.

I begged her not to blow by that part, and assume that the initial diagnosis was the final diagnosis. I explained how my current diagnosis was not  even close to what the first one was. The MRI, any biopsies, and even the surgery itself can reveal things not known prior, which will require you and your doctor to reevaluate your diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s like renovating an older house. Every time you open up something, you’re going to find something else that you have to take into consideration. Doesn’t mean the estimate was wrong, just means you have new information now.

She replied that she’s gone into each new test with positive thoughts, and was disappointed that the results had been negative each time, that that this was a ride she hadn’t asked for. Yep, welcome to the crappiest club in the world, where like Groucho Marx said, if they want me to be a member, I don’t want to be a part of it! And yet, here we are. In a club nobody wants to be a part of.

I’m not thrilled with the parts I’ve been through so far. Some of it hurt during, and some afterwards. None of it has been pleasant…except the morphine. Mmmmm…morphine. But even the pleasant part didn’t last long. I’m not at all pleased with these expanders. And the idea of another surgery, months down the road, to get rid of the expanders, is not a pleasant expectation. And chemo, and radiation, and hormone therapies are no bunch of roses either.

But I’m not gonna sit here and wail “Why me?” Why NOT me? I’m not special. Hearing that I had cancer only confirmed my suspicions, it didn’t destroy me. The only thing that would destroy me is hearing that I wouldn’t be around to even see my daughter graduate high school, let alone college, or marriage. And I’m not going to let that happen while there is an ounce of strength in me. I will fight. The doctors tell me where they *think* the final gate it, but that’s only what they think today. Tomorrow is another day.

So I’ll sleep tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll get up and find out where we think the final gate is *today*. And I’ll fight in that direction.

So This Is Plan What, G?

Well fuck.

So I survived surgery. Sorry I forgot to mention that. Two days in the hospital were fun – NOT. The first night, I was still recovering from the anesthesia. I had a morphine clicker. I would fade in and out. Seems that each time I faded in, I remembered the clicker, thought I had been out for a while and click it to keep the morphine up, then fade back out. That went on for what felt like hours. Turns out I faded in and out about every 5 minutes. Clicker got a lot of use, even though it won’t deliver meds faster than about every 10 minutes, it tracks how often you click.

Best part was the infinitely adjustable bed. Perfect for when you can only sleep on your back, and sitting up by yourself hurts like hell.

So two nights…and pre-authorization for only one. I’m sure I’ll get to fight the insurance company over that one.

I just got a call from the Surgical Oncologist. He took two “sentinel nodes” during the surgery, to have tested and see if the cancer has spread. One of the nodes tested positive. He said the Cancer Board met today, and recommended a short course of chemotherapy, as well as the radiation treatment, but not further surgery to get more nodes, so I got that going for me.

So although they usually wait until you’ve healed more from surgery, I get to try and push my Medical Oncologist appointment up, to discuss possible treatments. Yay.

On another note, thank god for body wipes, and for the “rinseless hair shampoo caps”. But today, I got my daughter to help me wash my hair in the sink, with REAL shampoo. I feel almost human again.

Until the next phone call…

This Is The End, My Friends

To my best friends, the 34-G cup twins. In the beginning, this relationship was great. I treated you well, and dressed you up to show you off. Those were happy times. But I have to say, the relationship recently has taken a toxic turn. I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that lately, you’ve been a real pain. You are literally trying to kill me. So, we’re through. I’ve met someone who promised to introduce me to a new pair of twins. Who won’t try to KILL ME. So tomorrow, you and I are parting company.

Tomorrow is surgery day. I’ll be sedated, and my surgeon will perform a bilateral mastectomy. The tumor will be tested to find out the genetic make-up, so that I can be matched with the most effective drugs. The sentinel lymph nodes will be tested to see if the cancer has started to spread.

The last two days have been rather full. I met with the Cancer Care center, and made an appointment with a medical oncologist later. I had my first EKG. I met with the pre-op nurse, and someone in the financial department, and am done with pre-admittance paperwork (yeah right). Someone decided I needed a chest x-ray. And then the radioactive sentinel node injection. Oh yes. The Radioactive Sentinel Node Injection. Actually 4 injections. Around the areola. The needle pricks weren’t bad. But what gets injected stings and burns. I’m pretty sure the room had sound proofing. At least it sure should have. I’m pretty sure I was screaming and cussing like a sailor. Four times. The only “fortunate” thing was that it didn’t take long.

So four years ago, I started a new life. Now I get to start a new life again. I must have been a cat in a previous life. But I’d really prefer not to test how many lives I get.

To all my friends, my SeaMonkey tribe, and my family (there might be so overlap there) who have sent well-wishes and offered help, thank you. I will need each and every one.

I will update when I can, if luck allows.