Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today: 2.29 miles; Running Total: 21.01 miles)
Day 109 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.
[Fair warning: I didn’t spend a lot of time editing this post so it’s very long and rambling. It’s like that Mark Twain quote: “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Sorry about that. I usually tighten it up a bit before clicking the Publish button. Today I just didn’t have the energy.]
Wendy and I went to the ultrasound appointment at 9am. The ultrasound tech had me point out the area that hurt, then squeezed warm goop onto my chest and ran the wand over it.
She took the results out to the doctor and the doctor confirmed, ‘yes there’s something suspicious there’. They immediately started setting up for a mammogram.
I texted Justin and told him there was a new area of concern.
He asked, “How?”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand any of this.”
I alternated between silence and weeping on Wendy’s shoulder in the family room. I no doubt scared the shit out of the older couple also sitting in there, the woman waiting for her own procedure.
I was called back for the mammogram. I was manipulated and mashed and told, “Don’t breathe, Meghan.”
The technician need not have warned me. I couldn’t breathe anyway.
A nurse told me I could get dressed then called me back to a consultation room with the doctor.
The doctor confirmed, yes, the place that hurt looked suspicious.
I asked her if an infection would show up on an ultrasound or a mammogram. I was still holding out hope that this was not a new tumor. The doctor said yes it’s possible. Maybe I’m being too negative, but to me her tone said it was a remote possibility and not to get my hopes up.
Wendy and I headed over to the cancer treatment center where I spoke with my oncologist.
She recommended a biopsy of the new area and a breast MRI.
I asked her if it was possible to have two different types of cancer in your body – one that responds to chemotherapy and one that doesn’t.
She said yes.
She said sometimes new chemotherapy resistant cancers can develop while a patient is undergoing chemotherapy.
I know that the cancer that was already biopsied is hormone fed. I asked her if this new area could be the type of cancer that isn’t hormone fed – if it could be the more aggressive HER2+ cancer.
Again, she said yes, and that’s why they’d need a biopsy to understand the full picture.
I asked her if we could delay the next chemotherapy and move surgery up. Actually, I think I scared her a little with how I phrased the question: “Give me a knife, I’ll cut it out myself.”
She said it was certainly a possibility if I wanted to do that. Since I’ve finished the first round of chemotherapy, now would be the optimal time before we start the next round of chemotherapy. However, she’d have to talk to my surgeon first.
I told her I needed a few minutes to think about it and she stepped out of the room.
I didn’t want to delay chemotherapy, but the thought of leaving this thing growing inside of me for another three months hoping the new drug killed it instead of cutting it out was unthinkable.
I called Justin and told him that we might have the option of moving surgery up sooner, depending on what my surgeon and my oncologist work out, but we had to choose between delaying chemotherapy and cutting out the existing cancer.
He told me he was fine with it either way. I alerted a nurse I was ready to talk to my oncologist again.
While Wendy and I waited for my oncologist to come back into the room Wendy taught me a few relaxation techniques.
She insisted crying was a good release. I did a lot of this.
She also insisted throwing a pillow against the wall as hard as possible was a good release. I did this once and then imagined a nurse or a doctor’s face when they caught us throwing things around their exam room.
She offered scream therapy as a solution. I suggested that it might get us kicked out.
By the time the oncologist came back in I’m not sure if I was laughing or crying.
Both, I think.
My oncologist said she tried calling my surgeon, but my surgeon was in the operating room with another patient and could not be reached. Actually this made me like my surgeon even more – thank God she doesn’t multitask while handling someone’s life.
We decided to delay chemotherapy until my oncologist can talk to my surgeon. She cautioned me that my surgeon might not want to perform surgery while I’m so fresh off of the first round of chemotherapy. It can affect how well I heal.
I asked if there would be another PET scan to determine if this has metastasized to other areas of my body.
She said we could certainly do that, but she thought the chances were low that that had happened and a PET scan right before surgery might not be a good idea.
I feel like I’m back in free fall again. Back to waiting. Back to wondering how this will be treated, how long treatment will take. Back to wondering if the cancer has spread to in my body.
I broke down and poured a glass of wine. After three months of sobriety I’m a very cheap drunk.
My oncologist called back. I wanted to confess to the wine. In the end, I didn’t.
She said she’d spoken with my surgeon. My surgeon would not be comfortable doing surgery until three weeks after chemotherapy. Since I just had chemo last week that’s waiting another two weeks for surgery. That two week delay is longer than my oncologist is comfortable delaying chemo for.
So she wants to do a biopsy ASAP and proceed with the FAC chemotherapy.
She cautioned me that this new spot could just be a weird anomaly. She said breasts change all the time and it could still not be cancer.
She said a breast MRI is still a good idea but it isn’t the most important thing right now. Right now the most important thing is a biopsy and finding out if this new spot is cancer, and if it is cancer, what kind of cancer it is.
So I have a biopsy Wednesday morning at 11am. I probably won’t have test results before Friday or Monday to see if it’s cancer. If it is cancer, finding out the type will take longer.
FAC chemotherapy is going to happen on Thursday.
I hung up and poured another glass of wine.
Justin and I sat outside and watched the kids play. I drank my wine. He drank a beer. We talked about our costumes for Halloween. We pretended everything was normal. It worked for a minute.
I remembered I needed a driver for Thursday so I called my mother in law. She said she’d go then asked how her son was doing.
It’s a question that doesn’t get asked enough. I handed the phone over to Justin.
I stumbled into the bathroom and crumpled against the door sobbing. I had one of those lucid drunk moments where I questioned if I was just being dramatic. I decided that if there was a time to be dramatic, even behind closed doors, this was it.
Today’s silver lining: Fuck if I know.
Today sucked on epic proportions. I don’t have a silver lining. If you can think of one, let me know. I’m tapped out.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!
Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share? Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.