Another new plan and public breakdowns. The glamour of cancer.

My mental state continues to suck.  I know that I can’t quit which makes me feel like I have no options.  If my cancer came back and I knew that I did not do everything possible, how could I live with myself?  So I have to do it.  I have to figure it out and put one foot in front of the other and fake it until I make it, right?  Today was my appointment with the radiation oncologist.  I knew that the fact that they wanted me to have the meeting meant they most likely wanted me to do radiation.  I decided to put actual clothes on, put my fancy scarf/turban on my head and even wear earrings.  I even put on jeans rather than elastic waist pants.  This was serious.  I went to the appointment, spoke with the nurse for quite a while and then the doctor.  I really like her.  We did an exam and had a long discussion about why she felt like I should do radiation.  She has been part of the breast committee who has been discussing my case and it was clear that this came from all my doctors (especially since they were the ones who requested I set up the appointment).  Basically, my cancer is a Super Cancer, which has already been well established.  I am lucky that it went crazy locally rather than spreading which is what the doctors had expected it to do.  But since it was super aggressive locally, they feel that super aggressive local treatment is the best thing.  Which means radiation.  And since we’re going to do the whole chest wall, we’re going to throw in the lymph node area just in case while we’re there.  The doctor checked my range of motion, and tenderness in some areas and called the Lymphedema department to get me into Physical Therapy ASAP.  She apparently really lit a fire under them because I have an appointment for Thursday but they’re trying to cancel someone else to get me in tomorrow.  Also, she left the room and called my oncologist to get a schedule.  I thought that I would finish chemo and then do radiation if it were necessary so that surprised me.  They are going to put my chemo on hold to do the radiation.  I get my casting done next week – on the 17th.  Since I’m supposed to have the tissue expanders fully filled before radiation, I asked about that but she said that the plastic surgeon will have to deal with that because it isn’t necessary from her standpoint.  The cancer is the priority.  I of course agree with this.  But I ran up to the infusion center for a CBC to make sure my counts were good enough to get a fill tomorrow (they are).  I’m assuming he will also try to do another one next week before the 17th.  After the casting there can be no changes.  I can’t imagine that he would try to do fills more often than once a week so I will likely have 4 fills before radiation starts.  He told me it normally takes 6 fills so I’m just hoping at this point that he’s not going to super inflate me or anything (he can’t do that, right???).

Oh, and that part about public breakdowns.  When the doctor left to make her phone calls, they were going to send the social worker in to meet me.  In the couple minutes of alone time I had between their visits I just started crying.  Great intro to the social worker.  I became a blubbering idiot not even able to get words out but I guess that’s what she’s there for.  She was certainly very nice about it.  The doctor handled it well, although she was surprised since I was a person completely in control when she had left the room minutes earlier.  I guess that’s how I roll now.  That’s only the third time I’ve cried since I was diagnosed.  I guess maybe things are going to finally start coming out.  Maybe at least.

I do have a funny story from this week that has gotten lost in all my feeling sorry for myself.  I’m just starting to be able to drive again and I went to the grocery store this week because I wanted to make potato soup for dinner.  I put the kids down, drove the mile to the store and gathered the 6 things I needed and got back in the car.  Then I decided that all the activity had gotten me too tired to actually make the soup and screw it – I’m ordering Chinese.  So I sat in the parking lot of the grocery store and did just that.  A few minutes later I walk into the restaurant.  The guy recognizes me and greets me asking how I’m doing.  Since I’m pretty clearly bald these days I said “okay”.  He starts giving me a hard time about just being okay and I just looked at him for a minute and said “well, I do have cancer.”  He gave me a big “OOOOhhhhh.” and then said “Well, they have technology for that these days.”  Um, technology for cancer?  Really?  This is what I deal with people!  THEY HAVE TECHNOLOGY FOR THAT.  I need to start making t-shirts.

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8 Responses to Another new plan and public breakdowns. The glamour of cancer.

  1. bigusfickes says:

    Don’t worry lady, there’s technology for that crap. Now pay for your eggrolls and move along.

    I’ve lost a lot a bit of faith in science during these cancer months, but almost lost all hope for people in general. Unsure how most people get by.

    • You just have to keep taking one baby step at a time or just stand still…sometimes it’s down to even a moment at a time. When you think you’re going through hell, keep going…it’s hard, but it’s do-able. I’ll be thinking of you.

  2. Kristina Provinsal says:

    Awe Jenn 😦 I’m so sorry you are going through this. 😦 I am wrapping my arms around you all the way from Texas. Wish I could make you potato soup ❤

  3. Joe Smeltzer says:

    No, seriously, there is technology. The world is 99.9999% dumb. Fortunately, the .0001% make it worth still going outside. You are doing great and this will all be over soon. You will laugh about it at your kids college graduations.

  4. Jen Rittling says:

    Jenn, as I read this I just keep thinking- ohmygod thank GOD this “super cancer” didn’t spread. Jenn, you are so unlucky to have to go through this- but GOD are you lucky that this nasty cancer hasn’t gotten past this point. It sounds like a beast- but you will get through this. You already have in so many ways. We’re still thinking about you here in Buffalo! I showed Charlie and Henry the pictures of Evelyn’s head- because they do the exact same thing… I hope she’s feeling better. She was just as much of a trooper as her momma! 🙂

  5. I’m laughing because we’ve had a DOCTOR say that to us before, when everything first happened with the fiancee. Imagine me, 22 at the time and the fiancee 24, having the cancer talk with a doctor and we’re just like cancer? Like chemo and all that? All shell shocked and watery eyed hopeless kids and the doctors profound reassurance was ” there’s technology for this”. lol. I guess we have to find humor in the little things.

    I’m sorry you had a break down but i’m also glad because you do need to get these emotions out. I say put on the saddest movie ever and sit down and watch it and bawl your eyes out. I think it will really help you.

    Also, my two cents, putting chemo on hold might be a good thing. Radiation has WAY less side effects ( though there is still tons of side effects) so it will give you time to bounce back a bit, I know you blogged about being tired of being sick and in pain. So that particular course of treatment will give you a little reprieve.

  6. Nils says:

    Wow. Some people. At least you got a laugh out of it and you even shared it!

  7. BIg hugs to you ~ people say the darndest things, don’t they? Breakdowns are normal. I remember saying I wasn’t able to let myself cry because if I did, I’d never stop. But guess what, eventually you do stop. xo

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