May 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

Well, last Friday’s appointments with the surgeon and oncologist were anticlimactic (as usual). Basically, radiation and menopause-inducing hormone therapy are definitely in my near future. (Yanking out my ovaries is also an option. Yeah, thanks.) But the “other big C” (aka chemo) is still a tease. Not all breast cancers are sensitive to chemo. My oncologist says he’d be happy to send me to chemo, but it may not work. (Um…yeah, no.) The other option is to order a genetic profile of the new tumor and use that info to make a more evidence-based decision. (Hm…me thinks this sounds familiar.) My first tumor was not cut out for chemo, so we’ll see if this one’s personality is similar. And, since chemo must comes first in the breast cancer treatment buffet, all else must wait. In the meantime, I’m trying to live life as as if a giant meteor isn’t angling straight for me. Easier said than done I’m afraid.

Looking Up

Bone scan was clear.

Tumor was tiny (3.5 mm).

Margins were clear.

Tomorrow we meet with the surgeon and oncologist again.

Thank you all for your unwavering love and support.

Location, Location, Location

For six years now Mary and I have lived two blocks from the local hospital and today it finally paid off. Not that I’ve wished us ill, of course, but years of sirens blasting past the house felt like a reasonable price to pay today for the convenience of not having to schlep 70 miles to Indy (AGAIN). Instead, at 9:35 this morning Mary and I sauntered out the door arm-in-arm for my 9:45 appointment. By 10am a nice woman named Michelle was injecting me with radioactive liquid. Then Mary and I ambled back home, stopping to smell the peonies. Three hours later, after my bones soaked up the juice and were certainly glowing like a skeleton on Halloween, we eased back down the sidewalk again. The trip took 5 minutes door-to-door. The 22-minute bone scan left me plenty of time to try on a few of my new mantras, including “I am at peace with my decision [to get a bone scan]” and “Neal [the tech who scared the shit out of me last week] is a tool.” When the mantra-thing got old, Mary (who sat nearby but out of range) plied me with jokes from her new joke app. (My personal favorite: What did the Buddhist say to the hotdog vendor? Answer: Make me one with everything.) Bone scan? Check. Sense of humor? Check. Radioactive pee? Check. Not having to waste 2.5 hours of a beautiful Spring day in the car? Priceless.

Quick Update

Just a quick post to let you know what’s up. Monday’s early-morning surgery went well. I bounced back super-duper fast. Within 24 hours I was out walking the dog and doing some light gardening. I’m a little sore but otherwise have zero pain. I even practiced a bit of yoga last night, and my muscles seem to be in working order (a relief because my surgeon took a notch out of one). Thank you all for your supportive notes, thoughtful emails and good vibes. Really, you’re amazing. Unfortunately, we still don’t have any details from pathology or about what the future holds in terms of treatment. I’m working hard to be in the moment. Of course it helps immensely that Mary and I have been chillin’ with the Dalai Lama this week during his sixth visit to Bloomington (our second teach-in). And, if anyone can bestow a little serenity on the situation, it’s the DL. As always, he awes and inspires. Next step? Bone scan tomorrow. Taking things one day at a time.

Cancer Redux

Last month, my dermatologist removed a small but suspicious-looking mole from my chest. The growth was suspicious alright but it wasn’t a mole—on April 27th she called to tell me it was breast cancer. I have a lot of questions. I’m sure you will too. Unfortunately, Mary and I have very few answers. I can tell you that we are both about to lose it. We’d love support but we have no idea what we need. Neither one of us can (or wants to) talk about it. Name a toxic emotion and we are feeling it: anger, sadness, fear, confusion and frustration. The new tumor appears to be an outcropping of the original, not a new cancer. That’s all we know for now, but I’ll update the blog when I can. Oh, and I’m scheduled for surgery Monday morning, May 10th.