One is the loneliest number

Bone scan in- it’s all good. He did print a picture for me and it IS totally awesome. I definitely have a curved spine though- wowsa, how did I make it this far without getting that taken care of, sheesh. When all of this is in the rearview, it’s chiropractor time. It is also not awesome seeing how much “grey area” is around the bones. My, they are well insulated.

Surgeon drained some fluid that was building up near the surgery area, totally normal stuff. That made it feel a lot better actually, took some pressure out of my underarm. He also did something that, turns out I have been putting off more consciously than I thought. He took the rest of the tape stitches off the mastectomy scar…

-cricket, cricket-

I am really pretty emotional about it.

I’m totally taken aback by how emotional I feel about it actually.

It’s not like I didn’t know my breast was gone. I’ve had no problem looking at it, showering, peeling a couple of those tapes off. I guess I didn’t realize those last few little pieces of semitransparent sticky tape were in some way separating me from the reality of it. The tapes were the reminders that I recently had surgery and that medical stuff was happening and it is a transitory phase of some kind and whatnot. Now that they’re gone it’s just me…and a big ass scar. And I look at it and every bit of reason and logic is gone and every grounding thought I can usually find has left my brain and I’m just … really sad.

Then I get mad because I know this is normal, I have read the books, I have heard the ladies use the phrase “mourning the breast” but I’m mad because I, foolishly thought I was cooler than that. I’ve never been particularly emotionally attached to to the things. I don’t equate them with my womanhood or my beauty. To be quite honest they are kind of a pain and I thought my super awesome attitude would somehow protect me from have to go through the trouble of “mourning the breast”.

Turns out, not so much. Bitch.

All the annoyances and frustration of being 100% asymmetrical came crashing down on my poor little sleepy head. My lack of control of this situation drew out my lack of control of so many others situations and made my blood boil and my tears flow.

Getting all this out is helping them dry up and I just filled up my sweet new water bottle Kellie gave me so I won’t get dehydrated. Logic, sense and composure are starting to roll in in waves. And there is a very good chance I will go right to sleep.

Finals

I title my post thusly ‘cuz I have a million tests this week.

When we last spoke I was awaiting the results of my lymph node biopsies. The surgeons hunch was unfortunately correct, many of my nodes were positive for cancer. 5 of 8. What does this mean, you ask? It means the cancer is more aggressive then previously believed. It means my staging is now classified as 2 (still early). It means I will need radiation after chemo. It also means those sneaky lil cells could be hiding out somewhere in my body like the dirty squatters they are. My oncologist thinks it is highly UNlikely that they have set up camp anywhere but we need to check anyway.

Today I had a bone scan- nailed it. A quick shot of nuclear medicine in a vein (which is no longer easy to find as all the “good ones” are in my newly “off limits” arm), then come back 3 hours later and have a very still lay down while a square thingy slowly scans me front and back. I peaked over at the technician’s screen after it was done scanning but before I was allowed to get off the table and caught a glimpse of my skeleton, so freekin cool, I really hope I can have a copy of the picture, who wouldn’t want to have a picture of their bones.

Tomorrow I have a second follow up with the surgeon. The first one, last week, went really well and I am anticipating more of the same. I have been doing my exercises and taking it easy when my body tells me to, drinking lots of water and taking my vitamins. I interoperated his “let the tape stitches fall off when they are ready” as -peel them off in the shower as they get raggedy looking and don’t hurt as I do so, they are almost all off.

I also have a CT scan of my chest and abdomen this week. Drink the goo, don’t eat, more scanning.

I meet with the oncology nurse and learn all the fun things I need to know about chemo and herceptin and never wanted to ask. Later I have the same kind of meeting with the radiologist. Then wait.

First round of chemo is anticipated to be May 24th- it will be a long one as they monitor my body to check its reactions to the stuff. Then I go back every week for 18 weeks. Every week I get herceptin (a targeted therapy for Her2 positive cancer) and every 3 weeks the chemo a combination of taxotere (which stops those cells from dividing and multiplying) and Carboplatin (made from platinum atoms which knock those succas out). While I was out for the surgery the doctors implanted a port on the right side of my chest. It is under my skin and gives the doctors direct access to a vein for all these treatments. And away we go. I plan on winning chemo the way I am winning surgery recovery because that’s how I roll.

I worked for a bit this morning and was so happy to see those muchkins. I got many hugs and professions of love and am looking forward to being back there every day. They are amazing vessels of joy and they crack me up. I start chemo the same weekend of graduation so my mom will be here to be with me for both. I can tell you right now I will only be crying at one of them and its not going to be in the infusion room y’all. It is going to be in the oak shaded play yard where I have watched lil cuties grow, mature and play for the last year. Where they have learned their words and how to use them, where they have scrapped their knees and elbows and most importantly where they have found their friends and their voices. Did I mention I love my job?

Surgery

Nothing ever seems to turn out like you think it’s going to. I’m learning, slowly to accept this.

Part of the plan with the mastectomy was to find and biopsy the sentinel lymph node (the one closest to the tumor?/ most likely to have been cancer-a-nated). When the surgeon removed the sentinel node he “didn’t like the looks of it”. It was very hard and was quickly tested and proved to be positive for cancer. He explored the other nodes and didn’t like the way they look either so he took him out as well. I will know those results tomorrow, but his experienced opinion is leaning toward positive. Even he is hoping, as we all are, that he is wrong but this is not his first rodeo. If I have four positive nodes I will need to undergo radiation (super hero building block, eh? eh?) The radiation affects the skin and tissue and could change the implant and all kinds of other bad stuff so the general surgeon postponed the reconstruction (totally what I would have chosen
had I been awake to make the choice by the way. Yay dr. G!).

Oh well. There goes that plan. Maybe it’s the high level narcotics talking but – wherever dude. So I need to add another step to operation ass kick, oh well.

The tear summoning part is not being able to make any plans for a while. What will I be doing next month? Beating cancer. In July? Same. September? Probably still kicking ass. I like my job and want to go there. I would like to see everyone I love. I would like to go have a big ole Nola benefit blowout. And I will. I just don’t get to know when and that is frustrating. I like being in control! So I’ll take a deep breath and let things come as they may. “one step at a time” as mom says. I need to continue Preparing for what is right in front of me, take care of it, recover, repeat.

I’m not being wise – I just don’t have another choice. Forced wisdom.

Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.

So as not to be completely cheesy I will admit I read this zen proverb on a bottle of kombucha but it’s a good ‘en as beverage bottle quotes go.

Benifit

Wow the Olive Tree (my workplace) folks can really throw a party.

Parents, Teachers and friends donated an insane amount of goods to get auctioned off, played music and passed some nicely decorated buckets. We laughed, we cried- especially when contributions came from some special lil ones’ piggy banks, we drank a good amount of beer, we ate crawfish and I got a bit more sun than I was prepared for so forgive me if I ramble. I can’t believe the amount of love and encouraging words that came my way today. Grateful doesn’t begin to express how I feel.

I am thankful for the bucks of course, its so nice to have less to worry about in that area. I promise to spend the money like any good Honky Tonk angel would- prescription pills and plastic surgery. I am even more thankful for the positive thoughts and kindness. I hope everyone knows how much it means to me to have such a big support system. It makes me feel much more brave going into this with all these wonderful people behind me.

THANK YOU!!!!