What a day. I mean a lot. How much can one person’s brain take in before it reacts? I’m not really sure but we gave mine a lot to mull over.
To start with, I have been a bit off for several days. A little cough, scratchy throat/voice, but feeling fine. Well, that ended last night. I was up several times feeling like crap and having a really sore throat. All day today I’ve had laryngitis and felt crappy. So just add that to everything else you are about to read.
Mom and dad were kind enough to watch the kiddos today so I could lounge and nap this morning. Mom picked me up at about 12:30 and we headed over to the hospital for the ultrasound. Once I got situated and we got started, I explained my history and that I wanted to know how much the tumor had grown since the Taxol didn’t work. I told her how big the measurement was and that I was worried about it spreading to lymph nodes so I would like her to check those out. She got good views of the tumor and measured it at about 3.25. So bigger, but not the 4-5 cm that my oncologist estimated. And it also means that although it’s grown, it’s less than a cm away from it’s last measurement of 2.6 so it is clearly growing at a much slower rate than it was. So that was a relief. But she pretty quickly said that she was more worried about another spot right next to it. My mind was a little like a cartoon character with a quick shake and a wha? Yup, plain as day – another one. This one was smaller, right around 1.5 cm and looked to be very close, but not attached to the original tumor. She used nice words but basically it didn’t look good – it looked like a tumor. We looked at it a lot and then moved on. Well guess what? Another little friend has poked up on the other side of the tumor as well. A little bit north of the first one, but same deal – about 1.5 cm and looks to be very close but not attached. This one she said could possibly be a lymph node even though it wasn’t in a spot where lymph nodes are usually located. Every person is different and it’s possible. But it didn’t look good either. So, basically my tumor is social, it has friends. So this explains not only why the oncologist had a different measurement, but also why I am feeling the tumor so much closer to the surface and we are able to see the bulge. Also, I am really starting to have a lot of pain. I’m sure I wrote many weeks ago that it had started hurting again and that has been getting progressively worse. It doesn’t even have to be touched now, it just hurts all the time. And now we know that not only has the main tumor been growing, but these other spots as well. That certainly explains a lot. I am really glad we had the ultrasound done.
She did stress that these spots could be nothing, we wouldn’t know without a biopsy so in my case not until after surgery. But they don’t feel like nothing. They are both very tender and they both look like the first one did on the screen. So I am pretty sure we all know what they are. She checked for lymph nodes next and found one that didn’t look “great” – it was 2.25 cm and looked all cloudy. But she also explained that all the chemo has changed the tissue a lot and made it difficult to tell. They lymph nodes are trying to take 10 weeks of poison out of my blood so they certainly aren’t going to look normal. The doctor came in after reviewing the films to make sure I was doing okay (he was the same doctor that did the biopsies) and to tell me that he was going to call my doctors immediately after talking to me. I was also glad that we did the ultrasound because I felt like we learned a lot. I think my oncologist just scheduled it because I wanted it – and I think she will be surprised at the results. So I have a little bit of “I knew something had changed” and nana nana boo boo. I haven’t been able to find much info on this cluster-like formation of tumors, but I will obviously find out what I can. Again, the women at the breast care center were a pleasure to talk to and the ultrasound tech was awesome at explaining everything she saw and all the options for what it could be. I love them.
When I was walking out, I got a visit from my favorite nurse and she told me that surgery was scheduled. She had just gotten off the phone with the hospital scheduler and worked out my dye injection so she would be able to see me right before surgery. I had no idea what she was talking about so she explained that I would check in for surgery and do pre-op, then they would bring me down to the breast care center where they would inject dye into me so that all of my lymph nodes would be clear for the surgeon, then I would go into surgery right after. So that is how that goes. I was scheduled for first thing in the morning on November 29th. When I walked out of their office I called the surgeon to get my rundown – I would check in at 5:30am on the 29th. I guess that’s good – not much time to stress the day of at least. Lots of pre-op and post-op appointments too. Oh, and one night in the hospital. Double mastectomy and one night in the hospital. Seriously. She said that the plastic surgeon may have longer requirements so I need to check with them too, but theirs was 23 hours observation. Insane.
The next step was walking over to the cancer building to talk to the nurse. My oncologist is out on Wednesdays but her nurse had already spoken with the doctor at the breast care center (I told you they were good) and she was going to send an email to the doctor in case she checks that before the nurse sees her. She thought she would want to go talk to the doctor and look at the films and for sure schedule me for AC so I should get a call in the morning telling me when to come in for that. I would expect it to be either tomorrow or Friday.
So that’s the cancer part of my day in a nutshell. Add that to everything else and I’m pretty sure this little cocoon I’m living in is probably not going to last that long, but I’ll take it as long as it does. Mostly I’m just always glad to have more information and I certainly like understanding why things seem to be advancing so fast. The lump (which I now know is multiple lumps) is literally feeling bigger to me today than it did two days ago. It is changing fast. I don’t think we’ll know more until after surgery. I know that they use 5cm as the over/under for radiation but I don’t know if it’s the measurement of the largest tumor if there are multiples or if it’s the combined total. I’m sure I’ll find that out after surgery too. It seems so crazy that this is happening. Totally not real. I am still really afraid of the surgery but I can’t even think about it – I just need to get this out of me. Three weeks is a long time to wait. Hopefully the AC will work and at least I will have some relief knowing that our post-op rounds of chemo will actually be killing any remaining cells. The more this is growing and the more resistant to chemo it is, the more I think we’ll be doing radiation regardless. At this point if they wanted to hit it with an a-bomb without killing me, I’d let them do it. Having Super Cancer makes you think about a lot. When your brain is working. So I’ll just hope mine continues to not.