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.