Saturday, August 08, 2009

I got a new attitude

(Sing along with me.)

Getting ready to spend the day with Susan.

Embracing my life.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Hard questions

Tonight Tessa asked a lot of question.

Why weren't the pictures the doctor took good enough?
What is wrong with your breasts?
Why are you scared?
...and the hard one:
Do you have cancer again?

I tried my best to explain it in optimistic terms. Tessa said, "Maybe there is a bone that the pictures can see." Something like that, honey.

Sigh. Six year olds should NOT have to worry about cancer. I am so sad that she has so much life experience that these questions arise for her.

I promised that I would not lie to her, that if I had to do chemo again I would tell her so that it wouldn't be a surprise, and so she didn't need to worry. I said we'd celebrate next week when we got good results, but that I was nervous until then.

I hate cancer.

Working it through

Today I've been a wreck.

I was completely caught off guard by the results of the MRI. Completely. I was so worried that there was a leak, but I really hadn't spent too much time thinking about cancer.

I've cried a lot, because I'm thinking of it now.

But I also talked to my oncology nurse, who helped to talk me off the ceiling. (Love you, Betsy.) She told me that the radiologist who called me is known for freaking people out unnecessarily. She told me that it is highly unlikely that I would have a recurrence in nodes on the opposite side. A lump, nodes closer to the cancer side, bones or liver....but unlikely in the nodes.

Okay, it's a start. And with all the loving things people have said to me today, it was the one that got me to catch my breath.

I'd like a second chance. Or a fifth, or a five-hundredth, or whatever this is. I want to live my life fully, passionately, with purpose and meaning. I want to be focused on what is true, and important, and real. I want to be the best mom possible to Tessa, the best wife possible to Ryan, and a true friend. I want to touch the world, to be a part of its vibrancy, to help heal what needs healing.

I want a lot. I am prepared to give, too, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to take all that the world has to give, too.

I've said it before: I believe that there are only two kinds of prayers in the world: please and thank you. I'm saying the first with my whole body today, and will continue to do so until I get results. I really, really hope that I get a chance to say a long version of the second prayer next week.

My intense gratitude to those who have reached out to me today. Your love is a prayer, too, so maybe that's a third kind of prayer.

Thoughts and prayers, please

I had my MRI yesterday, and today I got a call.

There are suspicious lymph nodes on the right (untreated) side. It is either "an inflammatory response" (nothing), or cancer.

I'm terrified.

I have a follow up appointment on Tuesday for an ultrasound and possible biopsy.

Please hold me in your thoughts that I can keep it together until Tuesday, and that this will be nothing.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The waiting game

My MRI is done, and thanks in great part to Heather's hand-holding (metaphorically), I survived it. I tried to sing "All Will Be Well" inside my head to calm myself, and I thought about Tessa's comment"This is a heaven day!" last weekend when we were camping, hanging out at our campsite with a cheeky raven, holding hands and jumping into the lake with Ryan and Tessa, Shep's glee on our hike. The machine whirred and clicked and beeped and made grinding sounds, all rhythmically, and it was deafening. I had a horrible hot flash in the last few minutes and I was gritting my teeth to get through it...and at last I was done. I was told I was inside the tube for 19 minutes. That was a LONG 19 minutes.

Then Heather and I went to lunch, and even did a bit of shopping, before coming home and picking up Tessa.

Now....I wait. Dr. Rinn is out of the office this week, so I will likely get results next week.

Thank you for your continued prayers. This annual "scanxiety" really is tough, and I'm particularly concerned that I will require surgery to fix a leak this year, as my left breast has changed so much. I'll know next week, one way or the other.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Xrays and MRIs

Today I took Tessa to the pediatrician. She's had "green spit" (aka phlegm - ewwww, sorry) for a while and has a hard time getting up in the mornings, and this reminds me of myself as a kid...with sinus infections. We told the doc, and she had an exam, and the exam didn't turn up much. However, the pediatrician listened to me, and suggested an Xray. Yes, Tessa has a sinus infection. She's on antibiotics now.

And tomorrow I go to my annual MRI. And I am DREADING it it. I hate, hate, hate that claustrophobic, loud machine. I hate that it takes so long (usually a half hour) and that the whole time I have to lay so still and think about how they're looking for cancer. This time, they're also looking for implant left (treated) side looks "weird" and I'm suspicious. It brings back pretty bad memories to be in that tube, too.

So tonight I'm moping and feeling heavy and sad.

Fortunately, tomorrow night it will be done. I'm praying for 'boring' results. I don't want any excitement.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The beginning of the week is a fresh start

Our family had a great time camping in the North Cascades. It was hot -in the 90s - after all, but we cooled off by jumping in the lake, and by hiking through shady forest along the river. We were entertained by a very vocal raven who hung out at our campsite. We went to ranger talks in the evenings. We drank the usual gallons of coffee, and unusual quantities of marshmallows.

On Friday night there were more stars in the sky than seems possible.

We were hot and sweaty and dirty and covered in mosquito bites....but that is not how we felt. We enjoyed togetherness, reading by the fire, walking along gorgeous trails, looking up butterflies and snakes and wildflowers in my field guide.

We held hands and counted to three and then jumped into the lake together, shrieking from the cold, then warming ourselves in the sun.

And now we're home and the week begins. Ryan is off to work, Tessa is still snoozing, and I've been busy. Bread is baking, there is home made granola in the oven (and the whole house smells of cinnamon as a result), the laundry is running (again...or is it still?). I'm trying to get my act together because I've been feeling really scattered lately, not myself. I have been feeling disorganized and sort of struggling...I don't know how to describe it. I've been having great times with Tessa, enjoying the summer, but I also feel snappish.

So now I'm trying to work on some self-care. Unfortunately, this involves some Lexapro, but also some writing, some down time, some exercise, some girlfriend time, more time in nature (been getting plenty of that lately). I'm trying to tidy our home because tidy home = tidy mind for me; I relax better in an organized space where I feel Zen instead of feeling the weight of undone chores.

I have vowed to get up earlier, so that I get some down time before Tessa gets up, so that I start the day ahead instead of behind. I'm listening to CDs, writing this, and drinking coffee, and it's a good start.

Today Tessa and I will walk to Lincoln Park to begin her swimming lessons, and Anna will come over for a playdate. I plan to do some gardening this morning, get my body moving and feel the sun on my skin. I'm hoping that by creating accomplishments, my day will feel 'right' instead of 'off'. I have a good life, and I know that. I'm used to feeling like PollyAnna, and so I hope that my mind can return to that state soon.