Thursday, September 17, 2009

Picking up the pieces

Tessa fell apart this morning, and I don't blame her. What a week this has been. Today I'm realizing how messy our house is, and how disorganized I am, and how far behind I am. I'm scrambling to get some semblance of order back into my head, and then into our lives.

We will have a quiet evening at home....that ought to help.


PollyAnna is showing her face again.

I feel so much more optimistic today, so much more hopeful.

When "Auntie" Carolyn was here, she gave Tessa a horseshoe necklace that Tessa wears almost all the time. Yesterday, Tessa told me that if I wore it, the cancer wouldn't come back, and she put it on me. (sniff, sob - so sweet)

I woke up feeling like the cancer is gone.

I don't believe in magic necklaces, though I do believe in Tessa's own special magic. I just feel better about this whole disaster today than I did before.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Quick check in

I met with the neck surgeon, who specializes in neck oncology. I also had a good chat with my oncologist.

If this is breast cancer, it is a very unusual presentation, not at all the norm. Possible, but unusual.

The node on my neck is palpable, subcutaneous. It is the one with the highest amount of uptake (eg greatest risk) and also the most accessible one, so the obvious choice for a biopsy. I am scheduled for surgical biopsy on Monday, checking in at 6:30am, coming home by noon.

The neck surgeon thinks it's 50/50 whether it's malignant or benign. No questions what I am hoping and praying for.

I probably won't have any sort of result for a few days after surgery, though you may be certain I'll be pestering all of my doctors.

On another note....
Thank you to Susan for driving me to my appt and taking notes today.
Thank you to Heather, Natasha, Steve, Sarah, Michele, Tracy (and assorted youngsters) for meeting me for a birthday lunch and making me feel special.
Thank you to my parents for coming over tonight to take the family out to dinner.
Thank you Sarah for making my birthday cake.
Thank you Beth for driving Tessa to school.
Thank you for phone calls, cards, flowers, and gifts. (Wow!)

I am a blessed woman. I'm just greedy, and I want to stick around another 60 years to enjoy those blessings.


Carpe diem

Sure, I will start my birthday with a trip to a surgeon to discuss breast cancer and lymphoma possibilities....

But the rest of the day will belong to me.

I am so grateful for my life, my family, my friends.

If I need to fight cancer again, I will do it. I will fight harder than ever. Sure, it's a terrible fight, but the victory is worth it. I am prepared to fight harder than ever before if called to do so.

Or maybe it will be nothing. Wouldn't THAT be a gift?

Today I will celebrate my life with friends and family. And I will take it one day at a time.

Now, off to wake the girl!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Medical limbo and birthdays

I have really, really been looking forward to my birthday. Forty is a big milestone for me - for anyone - that seems even bigger given the cancer business.

I was just so sure that this nasty business would be over by now, instead it seems worse than ever.

I am four years, three months, and fifteen days out from my diagnosis. Those are four years, three months, and fifteen days that I am SO grateful for. Every day is precious to me, even the days that suck.

And let's face it, today has sucked.

Tomorrow morning I will meet with a neck surgeon to do a pre-op visit - number eleven, here I come. It will be a day surgery, but general anesthesia. My current understanding is that the surgery will be Monday, and I pray that I will have results soon after.

This is all pretty surreal.

I've done just a little bit of Googling, and it seems like many kinds of lymphoma are highly treatable with long life expectancies. Frankly, it sounds preferable to breast cancer right now, but I very well could regret saying that. "Nothing" sounds best of all, of course.

But back to the surreal part.

I am supposed to be celebrating my birthday, preparing for parties, laughing with friends. Instead, I am wearing the same sweatpants and t-shirt that I wore to my PET and CT scans yesterday, and I'm freaking out. I've been hibernatinig with the TV (and Susan) all day, trying to avoid thinking too much. Friends have sent notes, flowers, and chocolates; Sarah brought lunch.

But it's surreal. I think that I'm reliving my first diagnosis. I can taste the fear - still cold, still metallic. I can start to plan how the next few months will go. Will I be bald at Christmas, or am I just being overly dramatic?

I have lots of questions for my new surgeon tomorrow. Are the nodes in a chain? How big are they?

Tomorrow, aside from the appointment with the surgeon, I will attempt to have a good day. It's Tessa's first soccer practice. My parents are taking Ryan, Tessa, and I to dinner.

Damn, this sucks.

Prayers, Please

Well, my fears are through the roof right now and I'm asking for your thoughts, prayers, white light, karma, love - whatever you have to offer.

Today I got a call from my surgeon to tell me the results of my PET scan. Seven nodes "lit up" - in the breast area and up into my neck. This could be the result of breast cancer, lymphoma, or "nothing." I have an appointment tomorrow at 10:30am (on my 40th birthday!) with a neck surgeon as a pre-op appointment for surgery on Monday to remove node(s). The surgery will be a day-surgery, but under general anesthesia. I'll know more about that tomorrow.

Susan left work to be with me. Sarah is bringing lunch. Beth drove Tessa to school and Katie is picking her up. Heather has provided dinner. Michele has invited us to dinner. I am surrounded by blessings, and I'm grateful.

My friends, I am so, so, so scared. Thank you for your continued good thoughts.

Monday, September 14, 2009

PET scan update

Needles full of radioactive contrast, drinks full of frothy nastiness. Ativan is vying for my affection, but Heather helped to keep me sane. Together they were a good pair.

Now my head is full of fuzziness and I'm trying not to think too much about the next results. At earliest I'll hear tomorrow.

Until then...wait.