Friends – things continue to be gross. Frankly, in epic fashion.
Here’s the deal. I tried putting off writing this update under the umbrella of having nothing nice to say blah blah blah, but to be honest, I’m not so great at dealing with all of this, and I’m hoping for your positive vibes yet again (yes, I’m being greedy).
Let me back up just a moment and give you the low down so you know what the heck I’m even talking about. Last Wednesday, I had my bilateral mastectomy surgery. The plan was to remove the 2 small tumors that had been identified by my biopsy , and check my lymph nodes to ensure this cancer craziness has remained in the breast only. Guess what – sometimes things just don’t go your way, which I’ve been able to demonstrate repeatedly on this crazy journey nearly every step of the way thus far.
When I woke from the surgery, the first question I asked Tom was about my lymph nodes. I was more than a little devastated when he had to tell me that the sentinel node had tested positive, and my surgeon had to remove additional nodes for testing. I couldn’t even speak – just tears running down my cheeks – it was about the worst news I could imagine. Except it wasn’t. (Cue dramatic music)
Friday morning as I was preparing to be discharged from the hospital, my wonderful breast surgeon, Dr. Bretzke, arrived in my room and let me know the pathology report was in a bit earlier than expected. She let me know that the 2 small tumors they thought I was dealing with in my right breast were actually 1 very large tumor measuring 10 cm, and that 2 of the 16 lymph nodes she removed had tested positive for cancer, so I was now being classified officially as stage 3A. I could barely speak nor function. Even her quiet confidence didn’t soothe me – not one little bit.
Talk about kick you when you’re down (not my surgeon who did all she could to help me, I just mean the whole damned process) it’s pretty crummy to be doing your best to recover from major surgery only to learn that things are significantly more serious and life threatening than expected. Let’s face it – things were decidedly not going my way.
Dr. Bretzke then informed me that because of my standing as a stage 3 patient, I was automatically required to undergo a PET scan which is an imaging test to check for possible cancer invasion in other parts of my body. That lovely little test is scheduled for tomorrow (Thursday) and I won’t learn the results until sometime on Friday.
Here’s where you come in. Friends – I have had absolutely no luck thus far on this crazy cancer road, and to be honest, I could really stand a little good luck tomorrow. Not lighting up that scan like a Christmas Tree would be kind of awesome, and I would certainly be grateful for that tomorrow. Even so, what I’m learning is that I face a very long, difficult road ahead of chemo, radiation and hormone therapy and to be blunt – I’m in for the fight of my life. This is so gross I can barely type it. I hate this post, and I hate having to ask for your good vibes, prayers, well wishes, etc. once again. I so wish I didn’t need them, but in fact, I do. I need them a lot because I’m about as terrified as any human being can possibly be before sliding back and forth on that scanner tomorrow.
Ok – it wouldn’t be a red couch entry without some kind of positive spin, and believe me when I say it’s been a stretch this week. To be fair, I wasn’t trying to be a jerk about not updating everyone, but this has been a tough one for me to wrap my own head around, and truly, I kind of thought it might be easier to wait to post anything until I had the results of the scan. But, I think I need to feel those good vibes from my amazing village (if you have any to spare – Lord knows I’ve been greedy lately) before this damned appointment tomorrow, and therefore I’m spilling it in hopes of any sort of positive news from this test. Seriously, I just have to believe I’m due to have even a hint of hope – it would be kind of awesome at least.
People are unbelievably kind and know how to convey it in meaningful ways that make me realize I need to buff up my own skills. Truth – I’m an introvert by nature – often needing lots of alone time to process things, write, ponder, and make action plans. Sometimes I get way overwhelmed by too many meetings and things, but this always goes in spurts for me and has to be about things I’m completely passionate about or I don’t do well. Don’t get me wrong – I adore people, and appreciate the variety and depth of friendships/relationships I have accumulated throughout my funky, slightly left of center life, but I’m not what anyone would describe as a people person. I never know what to say to people, I struggle to put into words anything that makes sense when crummy things happen to others, and I am not such a great friend to most people in my life because my children take up the majority of my time and energy, and I don’t have much left over. In short – I’m kind of an asshat in a multitude of ways, even though I wish I weren’t. It’s a work in progress – I’m trying – but being a good friend is not a strength for me despite my genuine compassion for others. All that said – while I clearly don’t deserve it, I have somehow collected some of the most amazing, compassionate, caring people in my life that are stepping up, showing support and compassion to me and our family, connecting me to people who know this journey, cooking meals, sending me cards and gifts, and just going above and beyond in general. Tom and I are humbly in awe nearly every day – for a couple of so-so asshats, we have the coolest village on the planet, and no matter what this crappy scan says tomorrow, I hope that’s what I’m thinking about and remembering no matter how awful the news.
The kids are hanging in there. I’m sharing bits and pieces at a time as not to overwhelm them. They know I face a long course of treatment, and I’ve shared with them we are going to need the support of our family and friends in order to make this summer work at all. I can’t even go there right now because the thought of how this is going to affect my offspring is just too much to bear at the moment, and needs to be a different post. But I’m sad. Yes, I will spin this positive, and they will learn great life lessons and we will find our way together as we’ve done so many times before with other crazy stuff, but I’m just sad, angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed about it at the moment. It’s so gross.
Yet, my physical recovery is going better than I expected. I feel quite strong most of the time, and am healing nicely. I’m not out and about yet, but by next week, I hope to start getting back into the swing of things a bit more. All of this makes the kids feel confident and our house not so off for them. They continue bickering about who gets the biggest piece of something sweet or who hid the Doritos remain constants. Frankly, it makes me smile.
So, that’s the scoop. I’m grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown to me and our family over this past month, and humbly ask for your support as I face “the scan” tomorrow. If you are willing to cross your fingers and toes – I’d appreciate that as well. If you see fit to knock on a few extra pieces of wood – all the better!
It’s a beautiful, sun filled day today. My friend Sarah came to sit on the deck with me and laugh and share stories and let me be sad. Let’s take some of this vitamin D and turn it into some good news tomorrow – shall we? If I’m going to get any, this would be a great time to start with the positive stuff.
Last, thank you, wherever you are, and however we are connected – I appreciate you. This process is scary and overwhelming and unbelievably gut wrenching, but despite me being a little too hippie-esque, I believe in the good of people, and have been able to see the very best of what so many people have inside them and consider that a true gift. I believe that can trump cancer – at least I hope so . . .