How am I feeling? I’m getting that question a lot these days and that answer is that I really don’t know. I feel like the world has become a completely surreal place. When I am at home with my kids, I am absorbing all of the love and happiness they just ooze. Ignorance is bliss. We talk about everything with the 5 year old, but he has no concept of what is going on, and there is no reason why he should. The baby just wants mama and I’m gone a lot right now. She still wants to nurse – this morning she pulled and pulled at my shirt until I told her “all gone” and then she just screamed and cried. So heartbreaking. But what can I do? I have to unplug my emotions from everything just to make it through the day. On Friday when I went in for the MRI, I felt myself not wanting the IV and had to tell myself to man up because my life is going to be getting poked and prodded for the next year. If I can’t handle an IV I’m in trouble. I’m basically trying to let the business part of my brain take over and make the decisions and get things done. Meanwhile, I need to tell the emotional part to just take a back seat and suck it up. The less I think the better.
Today was another ultrasound/biopsy day. I went back to the breast center and once again the ladies were lovely. I had the warm robe and blankets along with the spa music. They got me all checked in and settled down and I took my happy pill for the biopsy. The tech was able to find the two spots that lit up on the MRI and took lots of measurements and pictures. They didn’t look the same as the tumor – the one on the right side looked more like a cyst with clean edges but it wasn’t all black inside. It measured just over a cm. The one on the left had more going on – they called it a “possible cyst” and it measured just under 1 cm. She also found the tumor which measured 2.6 cm so it’s grown by half a cm since the first ultrasound on July 27th. The doctors said the reason my tumor is so tender is because it’s growing so fast. I guess they weren’t lying. When the doctor came in, he told me that they were going to try to needle aspirate both spots, if that didn’t work then they would biopsy them. First the biopsy of the tumor for the study though. I am glad I had the pill to take. I was very calm during the whole thing. Still unpleasant, but a lot better. I highly recommending getting some drug interaction if you’re getting a biopsy. They took four samples and gave them to the study rep and she was off to send them to Ohio State University. Then we moved on to the other two areas. Neither would aspirate and we ended up having to biopsy them both. I know I mentioned it earlier, but I am apparently super hard to numb up. I got a LOT of lidocaine today. There were a few times when I had to stop him because I could feel the pokes, and once when the biopsy needle shot through to get the sample and went into an area that wasn’t numb. That was not good, and pulling it out was even worse. I was really glad I had the pill to mellow me out. I said a few times during the procedure that I thought I could have taken a couple of those pills because I was still pretty anxious, but it was definitely an improvement over the first time. Well, when everything was over and it was time to go for the mammogram let me tell ya, I could feel it. I had to have the ladies hold my elbow and hold onto the wall so I wouldn’t fall down. I guess one was good.
An important note about lidocaine – you should really eat first before you get a bunch of it. This morning I didn’t feel like eating (as per usual on the cancer diet) and then I remembered that a lot of medical procedures really don’t want you to eat so I took that as a queue to not push myself to eat. I mentioned to the ultrasound tech that I hadn’t eaten and she was like “oh, no”. Apparently I was getting so much lidocaine that she knew an empty stomach was not going to be a good combination. When we were doing the mammograms (she had to put me in a seat in between so I wouldn’t fall over), I started feeling nauseous so they brought me a bag full of all kinds of snacks and some juice. Then she made me promise to get lunch immediately after leaving, which we did. But all day I’ve been feeling nauseous off and on and I have gotten up 3 times since typing this to throw up. It’s extra fun with fresh injuries, let me tell you. So boys and girls – eat your breakfast.
When I got out of the biopsy, mom gave me the low down on the phone calls I’ve missed – the most important one is that I’m scheduled for surgery tomorrow afternoon to get my port put in. It’s not a big surgery, but I really shouldn’t have looked at what is involved because I’m decently freaked out about it. This is where my business brain just needs to take over and get me through it. The port goes under my skin and will be a few inches below my collarbone. I knew the tubing went into a vein or whatever, but what I didn’t realize until I saw the diagram is that the weave it all the way around so that it gets sewn in down by the heart. Seriously. No reason why that would freak you out, right? Good Lord. Anyway, I’ll be getting that done at a little after 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. Before that, I have an early morning appointment with the radiologist followed by a MUGA scan at 10:30.
Once of the side effects of the chemo is weakening the way the heart pumps so they need to get a good picture of my pumper before starting. The doctor did attempt to alleviate any anxiety by telling me how rare it is and that it wouldn’t cause a heart attack, but heart failure because the heart would be unable to pump. There, didn’t that make everyone feel better? The good part about having all the appointments is that it won’t let me think too much about the upcoming surgery. I can’t eat after midnight and only clear liquids until 11:15am. I also need to go get my EKG done (I can walk in for that one) and I’ve been scheduled for my PET Scan on Friday. I’m expecting to get chemo on Thursday since all the requirements for that are being met. I’m not sure yet what time that will be or how long it will take.
A lovely surprise has been to find out that our insurance has a $2000 deductible per person so we are going broke rapidly as I go through all these appointments. We have the best plan the company offers, but that’s pretty tough.
I am collecting addresses for the food train – if you would like to have access to the site to make us a meal, ship it to us or call a local place to have something delivered please let me know by sending your email address. You will be invited to the website and can sign up for a date that works for you.
We should hear the results from the biopsy tomorrow. The doctor told me that he really wasn’t sure what the spots were but of course he hopes they are nothing. We talked about what makes things “light up” on the MRI and it sees an area with increased blood flow. Those tumors sure like their blood supply. So whatever these things are, they are taking a lot of blood. Hopefully nothing, right?