Tomorrow morning was supposed to be my first chemo infusion for the year. I have spent the last week pumping myself up, tapping into my inner athlete and envisioning the healing, white light of chemo pulsating through my body and ending the cancer. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case just yet.
While on a mini-vacation with my family this past week I noticed a good sized lump on my left side, just before my armpit on my chest. It is in what little breast tissue remains after the mastectomy. Last Friday I brought it to the attention of my Oncologist who was sure it was nothing, but ordered an ultrasound just to be safe. Last week I also had a Bone Scan and a CT Scan of my chest and lower abdomen and the results of those tests were clear.
This means more than you could know. All along there’s been an understanding of the gravity of the situation. If the cancer hasn’t spread, I have really good odds. I will still have to endure a year of hell to achieve those odds, but it can be done. However, if the cancer had spread, we would no longer be discussing a curable cancer, but instead how to hold it off and buy time. Have I mentioned that I’m only 32?! To directly look mortality in the face at this stage of my life has forced an evolution of spirit that I can not begin to describe.
After Friday’s good news of clear scans my family and I walked away a bit stunned. We were obviously thrilled to hear the phenomenal news, but weary of becoming too complacent, too comfortable, because we have learned that that is when cancer sneaks up and cuts you back down to size. Enter this evenings ultrasound.
I honestly wasn’t too worried today going into this. I thought I was probably being a bit of a hypochondriac and that the Radiologist would look at me and say, “Swollen lymph node,” and everything would go on as planned. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. During my initial ultrasound, the Ultrasound Tech could very clearly see what I had been feeling for over a week, and it didn’t look like a lymph node, it didn’t look like the blood clot my Oncologist thought it was. She excused herself to go get the Radiologist and I sat there in the dimly lit room for over a half an hour. By myself. I’ve been watching the Olympics lately and there’s a saying in gymnastics that the longer it takes the judges to come up with a score, the worse the score. That’s all I could think lying on the table. This can’t be good.
Eventually the Radiologist entered the room and began to take a look for herself and decided that this new “bump” is highly suspicious and given my history needs to be biopsied. I then went out to the holding pen while she contacted my Oncologist to discuss what to do next. I was supposed to be at “Chemo School” tomorrow at 8 am, getting a lesson on how to survive my upcoming napalming, however my Oncologist feels that if this might be another tumor, my entire treatment plan will change. Cancel the chemo. I have a core biopsy tomorrow at 11, and then wait another two days for the pathology. If it’s just a weird lump, no cancer, life goes on as scheduled on Friday. If it is a cancerous tumor, things change. I don’t quite know how at the moment and I’m not going to allow myself to mind-wander down that path. I will take the information as it comes, process it, and set out on my new mission to get this shit out of my body. Done. If it can’t kill me, then I’ve got it. I’ll gladly have another surgery, stronger chemo cocktail, longer treatment; hell they can have my entire arm if necessary, but I will not give up.
After our disappointing visit this evening my husband and I tried to share our “Anniversary Dinner” at our favorite restaurant. He was understandably very upset and angry, I think the words, “Fuck cancer” came out more this evening then during the last few months. At one point he said something along the lines of how impressed he was that I wasn’t a broken down, sobbing mess and my response was this. If I have learned anything these past few months, it’s to cherish every single moment I am alive and breathing air on this earth. Some days may be harder than others, but I’m here. I’m alive. I don’t know about tomorrow, or the day after, but today, I’m here and I got this.