Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One week later

Well, my surgery was a week ago on Wednesday and I'm still feeling beat up and flying a little high on the pain meds, so bear with me. My keyboard sticks on this computer, the new one that came with the Dell I just bought got the cord chewed up by Homer, the amazing chewing Pommy that Jim just had to keep but is my dog now. Maybe when I get back to work I'll get a wireless keyboard and mouse combo. See, I'm always dreaming.

I don't really remember where I left the blog off. I know I told you all about the second set of mamograms but maybe not about the biopsies and the fact that it came back as "a small cancer" on my left side as well as cancer in my lymph nodes on the left and "atypical" cells on the calcifications on the right. So we did lumpectomies on both sides and took out several lymph nodes on the left. Tomorrow I get to find out if the margins were clear or not and if the cancer is hormone based which means I'll be on another medicine for five years in addition to the Chemo and Radiation. Its a little overwhelming sometimes but everyone (except one person) has been very positive and upbeat when talking to me and that really helps. It's just like when I was training and I'd get 100 great evaluations but focus on that one that said I didn't make any sense at all and I should never train again. Is this human nature? Or just my environmental learning cues that came from my childhood?

I'm getting better at saying I have breast cancer without falling apart right afterwards. I haven't even gone down the road of research to see what's happening next. Its been very overwhelming (I'm sure I'll use that word more than a few times) but I want to stay positive and try not to worry myself about things that are out of my control. I'd like to say its given me loads more to write about but my creative well is tired right now and my muse seems to get higher on the pain meds than I do. I know, the world is full of excuses.

But for now, that's where I am. Work sent me this awesome plant and I've gotten cards from lots of old friends and a get well package from a dart friend which were all total blessings. I've gotten a little money from several friends which has helped more than I will admit. Between parking at the hospital, the gas to St. Louis, and the co pays on the medicine, I would have been unable to get through without this help. I guess this is the time that I need to understand that gifts are not a sign of my weakness but a sign of strenght that I'm able to ask for help when I need it. I've taken care of myself for so long (and others) that admitting I can't take care of myself and everything that surrounds me is so hard. Maybe this is the lesson I need to learn?

Well, now I'm crying, (big baby) so I'm going to end this and park myself in front of the tv for a while. Kiss the ones you love and call the ones you can't reach. Its important, believe me.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Goal # !- Get Healthy, Right.

Well, its been an interesting two weeks. Trying to get all the "must do" appointments out of the way, like my mammogram, and I run into more problems. I've said that if I thought there was a problem, I wouldn't have done the mamo in the first place. Ok, I know my logic is messed up.

So, I had the second screening mamo appointment. Note to reception staff, it doesn't make the patient feel any better when you look at the tests scheduled and say, "Oh my, your having a bilateral mamo something or other (Ok, not an exact quote)" and look at her with worried eyes. After disrobing from the waist up and putting on one of the pretty peptobismal pink robes, that tye in the front but always feel like you are falling out, special patients like me get to go to the second waiting room where they are closer to the mamogram, ultrasound, and biopsy machines. I think I should invent a robe with a built in bra shelf so patients doen't feel like they are haning out there and at least the breasts get a little support.

After waiting an hour, which I think is payback since my first mamo was so quick and I got right in to the technician, I am finally taken back for the multiple squeezing and flattening process. Now this tech thought I knew what they were looking for but really didn't fill me in at all. I went back to the waiting room and after another 30 minutes, was taken back for more views of the left breast. During this, the same tech asked if I had had an ultrasound on that breast yet. I of course said no, gently crying during this process, and she sent me back out to wait some more.

Now Jim had coached me to understand that there was nothing wrong, that maybe they had even done the test wrong the first time and they were just being careful. OF course this was not the case, so I called him to vent, but then I was called back to do the ultra sound.

The male intern (think Grays Anatomy) was very informative and very inclusive, talking about what he was doing and that his resident would also want to look at the results. They took pictures of the tumor and of the lymph node that was swollen as well. During this time, he explained that I would need a biopsy of both the left breast tumor and the lymph node. I didn't realize I would also need a biopsy of the calcifications in the right breast. But that's what Mary Ellen, the nurse who made the appointment for me explained later. All in all, this second appointment took 3 hours.

The biopsy was scheduled for Thursday (2/1) and I went back to work to try to sort all this out in my head. So writing has taken a back seat to worry, and now I worry about financial and medical stuff, lucky me.

I keep thinking of Kathy Kelly who died when I worked for Health and Welfare of ovarian cancer. She kept going to doctors who didn't find anything wrong until it was too late. I took over her AFDC caseload when she went on medical leave. She worked up until the last days and then never had time or money to do the things she wanted. I don't want to be like that. How do you prioritize the important things in your life with the must do things? So right now I watch a lot of television. Denial is a good thing.

I will write about the biopsy later, but right now I'm tired of the subject. I'll let you know that my results should be back Tuesday and I have an appointment scheduled with the surgeon on Thursday.