Mixed results today when I visited the surgeon. This cancer diagnosis has been nothing but mind games for me, and it looks like it will continue to be as such. But first the good news.
If there ever was a reason for one’s heart to soar on Valentine’s, the news I received today was it. This afternoon I had my follow up appointment from my surgery and my lymph nodes are clear! So were the margins on my tumor, which means they removed it all. This means no metastasis! I’ve had so many aches, pains and maladies, I thought for sure each one was cancer. Heck, now it just means I’m getting old.
I must start out by saying how wonderful the people are at St. Joseph’s Kraemer Cancer Center. I don’t know if they give them special sensitivity training, but all of them have been so very wonderful, without being fake. They have been so genuine, which is an amazing observation coming from someone like me, who tends to be on the cynical side. The way that they have treated me, has helped me become more relaxed, and makes what I have been going through so much more tolerable. Thank you.
Healing, as expected, has been going slow. I am too impatient for this, I’ll admit. I’ve been pushing my limits and have suffered worse because of it. I tire easily, and I struggle getting dressed by myself. I haven’t been able to shower without help either. This is frustrating to someone as independent as I am. I find myself getting angry, like a crotchety old woman. I want to do housework, I want to shovel snow. I want to carry 5 bags of groceries in on each arm.
It’s not even the pain from the lumpectomy that is the problem. Fortunately for me, the tumor was on the underside and other than the 3” long black-and-blue, smile-shaped cut line, you can’t even tell anything was removed. The surgeon did exceptional work, I had imagined being deformed and maimed, which would have been fine, given the diagnosis, but nothing looks different. However, in the armpit she had to go deep, and it hurts really bad from the sentinel node removal.
I cannot use my left arm effectively. The entire backside of my left arm is both numb and in pain at the same time. I try pushing the limits, so I can get back to using that arm and I end up making things worse. I’m being forced to (yet again) learn patience, and I can’t say that I like it! She told me there is fluid build up in my armpit and offered to drain it with a needle. No thanks, I’m done with needles for now. She also didn’t want me to go back to work next week, but I talked her out of that. My mind needs to get busy.
I thought I was done, free and clear, with just radiation left to go, because my nodes were clear. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case – maybe. My surgeon and I discussed the pathology report in detail, and I had a medium aggressive cancer. So when I see the oncologist on the 27th, he may still want me to do chemotherapy. My surgeon guessed a 50/50 chance of chemo, depending on what the Oncotype DX test results are, that is the last remaining test. Those results may not be in by the time I see the oncologist, so possibly even more waiting still, after that appointment.
I am fortunate to have two friends that work in the chemo department, but I really don’t want to see you guys! 😊 Even if the doctor recommends chemo, I don’t know if I will go through with it. Do I take the gamble? I guess I will decide when I get more information on my odds.
I was going to wait to get my hair trimmed, thinking it would be a waste of money, but tomorrow it’s time. Think positive, chin up, eyes straight ahead, move forward with my life. I’ll admit it’s hard, very hard. Last Sunday we had an entire sermon on Proverbs 24:16 – The righteous fall but keep getting back up. And so I shall.
The final results of my pathology results, which are now official are: Stage 1A (YAY!) Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Grade 2, ER positive 100%, PR negative, Her2 negative, Ki-67 12%
Wait for and confidently expect the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.