Super Cancer

What a flipping day. I am working hard to find the positive in today. The plastic surgeon’s appointment caught me off guard. I didn’t expect to get news about my tumor at that appointment. I expected it to be hard because I would be faced with my surgery, more pictures, more scaring, etc. I have gone from being freaked out by the scars at my first plastic surgeon visit and researching ways to do a mastectomy with less scaring to pretty much just wanting to survive. I mean seriously – now I don’t just have cancer but I have Super Cancer. Able to laugh in the face of weekly chemo and come back for more. Awesome.

So this afternoon we all went in to see the oncologist. This appointment was actually less stressful than the plastic surgeon turned out to be. Basically my “options” are one option. Surgery ASAP. And anything less than a mastectomy isn’t good enough so options there are off the table. My general surgeon is out of the office until next Tuesday so my oncologist picked up the phone and spoke to her nurse while we were there. She told her she wants me scheduled and it can’t wait for the surgeon to get back in town. She also called the plastic surgeon on his cell phone and told him I need to be scheduled immediately. So they will get together and call me tomorrow or at the latest Wednesday with a date. Due to my general surgeon being out this week, her week next week is slammed so the oncologist prepared me for the possibility that I may only get to see her immediately before surgery rather than having an office visit with her before. Nothing like being in a hurry for the knife.

In the mean time, how do we control the tumor? Since it was resistant to Taxol, we aren’t sure if the other meds will have an effect. So, we are waiting on the schedule – if surgery is scheduled before Thanksgiving we will not do any more chemo and just wait for surgery. If surgery is scheduled after Thanksgiving, we will immediately do a round of AC (Adriamycin & Cytoxan) which will knock me on my ass. It takes two weeks to recover from AC which is why we can only do it if the surgery is after Thanksgiving. But if the surgery is that far out, it gives us the benefits of knowing if I respond to it and hopefully shrinking the tumor some before surgery. The plan is to do four additional rounds of AC after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. This is of course unless we are able to do a round before surgery and can tell that I don’t respond. In that case, I’m not sure what we will do.

I am going to get the ultrasound on Wednesday to see what the new measurement is for the tumor and scan my lymph nodes. Hopefully they are still clear. The doctor also ordered another PET scan to be sure that it hasn’t spread and we will see if insurance will let that one fly or not since I just had one a couple months ago.

I am trying to look for positives in all this. If we had done surgery first and done standard chemo, we would not have known that it was resistant so hopefully there is a lesson in there for someone. If I had done a lumpectomy and then standard chemo, I would have had high odds for a recurrence. Granted a lumpectomy wasn’t ever my plan, but it’s nice to feel a little validation in my decision. Surgery is a very personal choice and I couldn’t help but question if I was doing the right thing at times. Now I know without a doubt that I would have made the right choice. Of course now there really isn’t a choice which is even easier. And I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t mind not having hair because I’m going to be spending a good bit more time in chemo than most people doing it before and after surgery. As I said above, I have way less vanity knowing what I do now. It is very scary to be in survival mode, but it puts all the other crap in perspective.

I have realized I have a sensitive spot hearing about other people’s biopsies. Obviously there was the whole dentist incident, but the other day I saw a picture on Facebook. You may have seen it – a super happy girl holding a sign that says something like “I got my biopsy results and I do NOT have cancer!!!” Now I wouldn’t say this super upset me, I didn’t cry or anything. But I didn’t want to look at it either. I know that I should be happy for people who go through the whole biopsy experience and get a negative result. I mean seriously, that is good. I don’t wish this on anyone. But I feel very bitter when I hear or see things like that. All I can think is that must be really nice. And then this bitchy little bitter person just goes on a tirade about how it must be so nice to be able to go back to your normal little life and care about things like traffic and what you’re going to do that weekend and what’s on sale at the grocery store and forget that cancer was even a possibility. How nice for you. I don’t like to feel that way and I like even less to admit I feel that way, but I do. And I think I’m more put off by having those feelings than anything. I try very hard to live my life in a positive light, to not judge others and to not spend my time thinking bad things. That is not like me and I don’t like it. Maybe after I’m all through this I can deal with that stuff and where it comes from. For now, my plate is kind of full.

Oh – another positive. I assume the surgeon will be able to fix that stupid stitch that has been poking me for the better part of three months. I won’t be able to get my port out with my surgery as planned, but hopefully that stitch can go away.

I am pretty sure I’m in some kind of shock. Just pretty numb. Hopefully I won’t come to until this is all over. I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you for this kind of crap. There is no rhyme or reason, you just have to dodge all the bullets that come flying at you and hope you survive.

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8 Responses to Super Cancer

  1. Laura McGowen says:

    Jenn, I can not imagine what you are going through and I can’t even express how unfair I think this is for you. However, your honesty is so refreshing. I read your blog and want you to know how much I admire you. We have only know each other a short time through our groups but I think you are a very strong and amazing lady! I hope surgery and the new drugs prove to be successful. I am always keeping you in my healing thoughts.

  2. Amy Cardinal says:

    Jenn, I have to say that although I have never met you, I adore you. Your feelings are so parallel to what I had 9 years ago and still have today. But you are throwing it out there to share with others. I do that now but was scared to do it back then.

    I understand your thoughts on trying to find different surgery techniques that would provide a better “looking” outcome. I even asked if I could just do radiation so I could save my nipple. I was told no way in hell. You are right that sometimes it’s easier nit to have a choice. I was scared of surgery but was so relieved to know that crap was out of my body. I hope and pray that this will be the case for you. You deserve some peace and good news. I hope that having less to attack that the drugs will take affect better.

    I think of you all the time while you are on your journey. It will never end, but hopefully the road will get smoother and the view more beautiful. I hope someday to have the honor to meet you.

    Amy Cardinal

  3. Joe says:

    You are amazeballs and will make it through this. Sounds like the big shit is coming and like Amy said maybe with that ball of yuck out the meds can get ahead out it. Keep posting. Thinking of you always.

  4. Steve C says:

    Allright girl, tighten those bootstraps. You sound good and strong. You do! Keep positive, love those kids, and do this! This definately sounds like it wasn’t as you were planning :-). We love you Jenn! Hang tough. We’ll do what we can to help. Lots of love and prayers, and STRENGTH to you! You CAN do this!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I’m so sorry that you are going through this, and my prayers are with you. You stay strong girl! You have every right to be angry and believe me it helps just to say it like it is! Sometimes that anger helps you fight back. I remember what I went through 12 years ago. I was so mad and sad at the same time, that I thought I would never smile again, but I’m still standing and You will be too! Watching people with a “normal” life can be pretty hard. I remember listening to a guy complaining the line we were in at a store was too long. I wanted to say “if the worst thing you have in your life is this line then you are pretty lucky.” You fight with everything you have and you stay strong! You WILL beat this! We love you! God bless you.

  6. dietriotgirl says:

    That bitterness just means you are human and you have human emotions. It’s alright to feel that way, to be angry that you have cancer. It’s just like the saying that good people have such a hard time getting good things but an a-hole just seems to have everything on a silver platter. Everyone is left wondering where is my good karma. Why aren’t they having bad karma. But in the end , you are the better bigger person and like i said in other comments you have the attitude and determination. You are only human with normal human emotions. As long as your putting up this fight, I have faith in you. I’ll be rooting in your corner throughout this all!

  7. Paige says:

    Thinking about you all the time and praying for you, your family and your doctors. Hopefully this surgery will be fast and soon be behind you so you can look on and tackle the next hurdle. BTW – I’m thinking about putting up my Christmas lights this weekend in your honor!! 🙂

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