November 2 – Up at 3:00 a.m. wide awake. Oh fun. Actually it was. I lay there for a while thinking about what I was going to do and I decided to dig out the gorgeous counted cross stitch Santa I bought over a year ago and then never found time to even start it. Worked on it until 6:30 when Harold got up. I am going to do some things I really enjoy this time around if I really don’t get as sick as last time. You know me, there has got to be a perk somewhere!
Harold is rising again to the occasion. Last night right before we went to sleep I said. “Thank you for being there once again,” and he said “I will be there forever.” Well, I had been holding on quite well but that did it! He is an amazing man.
Jennifer and Jaime are right on up there, too. Jaime is ready to get on a plane to be with me and the poor woman – her father-in-law is dying of cancer so she and her family are getting it from both sides. Jennifer is counting up her Family leave time at work to be with me and she was with me yesterday when I was at the oncologist’s. She had the day off and we were going to go out to lunch after and then on to the Halloween store for the 50% off sale. She had asked if I wanted her to go back with me to see the doctor and I told her no, that this time it was just a routine appointment. When the nurse came out and asked for Jennifer she started looking around to see if anyone else answered and then followed the nurse back to the room. When she saw my face, she knew, and her face crumpled with the knowledge. One of the questions she asked the nurse was if she should get a mammogram. She has been told that she can wait until she is thirty-five, she is thirty-one now, and the nurse told her that yes, she should have a baseline done now. Jaime was told she could skip a year but now she is going to have it done yearly.
You know I can find humor in the oddest places. Well, a friend wrote that she thought that Brenda Braveheart might be tired and need some help this time and recommended that Kerrie Kickass emerge! I love it! I laughed right out loud! So, I have invited her to join the group. She will be with me for while and I need her aggressive personality.
November 3 – Back from the surgeon’s post-op/scheduling appointment. I get the chemo port installed on Tuesday on the right shoulder and he is going back in to the lumpectomy site and removing more tissue. It was my idea to do them both at the same time. Kerrie Kickass has emerged! He said he could so onward…………….He said we are going to fight this aggressively. He can take as much tissue as he wants! I will feel much better knowing that more of those nasty devil cells have been removed. I made the mistake of asking him what stage the tumor was and he said that it was hard to give a stage when it is a recurrence but that if he had to he would give it Stage IV because it is a recurrence of the original cancer. Lordy, I could feel the color drain right out of my face! He went on to say that Dr. M would be the one to actually answer that and Dr. M has already told me that we caught it early and he can “fix it.” I’m thinking that maybe this is like comparing apples to oranges so I am going to go with Dr. M’s assessment!
I got the pathology report – Her2/neu still not complete but I was negative for both estrogen and progesterone which is why, once again, my only treatment options are chemo and radiation. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Her2/neu is positive because he will add Herceptin and even if I have to go every week for a year to have it injected into the port I will feel that I have something more to fight with this time around. If it is negative as it was before the Herceptin would do no good. Dr. M did tell me that right now it shows positive but he expects it will be negative once again after the FISH test is complete. Keeping my fingers crossed and saying lots of prayers!
From the pathology report - The cancer is the same as it was the first time – Invasive ductal adenocarcinoma, grade 3. Measured 1.3 x 1.3 x 0.9 cm. The lymph node that was removed contains metastatic carcinoma and measured 0.2 cm.
Sort of depressing………………………
PET scan is Monday. I haven’t had one of these before so will be a new experience. No physical activity on Sunday. That is because the stuff they inject would go straight to a muscle that had been used and would end up giving a false report. After I get there they will inject the “stuff’ and then I sit in a recliner and hopefully go to sleep for forty-five minutes. It must contain something to make you do that because I can tell you I will not be in the mood for a nice nap at that point! I will, of course, give a full report on the test later.
Harold was scheduled for a colonoscopy on Thursday but we thought that maybe he should postpone that for the time being!
The surgeon told me that with the port install there was always a possibility of puncturing the lung and if that happened I would have to stay in the hospital for two days and that sometimes the lung collapse was delayed so he wanted me to be aware of that but that it only happened in five percent of the cases. There is that damned five percent again! I almost told him I was already a member of the Elite Five Percent Club and really did not want any more of its membership benefits, thank you very much! I didn’t though, he is very nice, listens to me and answers my questions but I have only seen him a couple of times so he would probably think me a bit odd. You all know I am odd so it is okay! I must tell you that he called personally to tell me the results, he got Harold because I was at Dr. M’s getting the news from him. I thanked him for calling me personally and he said he thought I would rather hear it from him. So he is also a kind man with patients.
I am also going to just tell them outright on Tuesday that I want the anesthesiologist to start the IV. Kerri Kickass is on a roll! I will be polite, of course, but there will be no room for discussion.
Got my wigs back. We redid our closet and the shelves are shorter so am not sure where they will reside this time! I start chemo on the 15th at 1:15 so I know where I will be for the next few months on Tuesday afternoons!
November 4 – Lordy, up at 4:00 a.m. – isn’t this fun! And, a few paragraphs back I asked you to say a prayer that my Her2/neu test domes back positive so I could take the Herceptin. What was I thinking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A positive is not good! It means the cancer is very, very aggressive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So scratch that stupid request!
You know I love quotes and meaningful words; one of my very favorite authors for this type of thing is Brian Andreas and he writes very short stories about people in everyday life and calls them Story People (www.storypeople.com). I have quite a few of his prints as do my daughters, we all love his work. Anyway (I do tend to ramble, don’t I?) a friend of Jaime’s sent her an e-card and she shared it with me and now I am going to share it with you as it really fits me! “The birds brought seeds & flowers & bits of brightly colored string & placed them in her hair while she slept so that she would remember the wild joy of spring when she finally awoke.” It will be spring when I am done and begin to “get on with my life” so I found that particularly poignant.
Dr. J (plastic surgeon) called yesterday afternoon to tell me how sorry he was and that once radiation started to keep him up to date on how my skin was doing. He said after the radiation is done we will evaluate how poor Polly (my words, not his!) is looking and if need be to take out the implant, remove the scar tissue that formed from that radiation and put in a new implant. He will have to see what the area looks like where the lumpectomy was done and then where the surgeon took out even more tissue from that same area. Nice to know I have options. He did caution me that sometimes there is nothing that can be done. Then we got down to the art stuff. He is entering an art show for the first time in his whole life! How exciting! I remember a couple of years ago when he showed me some photos of his work after he found out I was an artist, had never shown his staff, and then I told them and then the nurses at the hospital and they all made him show them the photos, too! He even brought in some of his work for them to see! I asked him if he was getting more confidence and he said, “No, I am just getting older.” I said, “Older and wiser?” and he said, “No, just older.” So the conversation ended up with laughter instead of tears. He will be out of town for the next week or so but said he would call to see how the surgery went and to tell me how the art show went. I told him to be sure and not stand next to his work since sometimes you hear things you would rather not or things that irritate you. My favorite is when someone leans over to their friend and says in a voice just loud enough for you to hear, “I’ll show you how to do that when we get home.” Yeah, right! Do I still have a great team of doctors or what!
Had a friend over yesterday and she told me that this was just too “over the top” for Breast Cancer Awareness month!
November 5 – Just realized this morning that tomorrow is our wedding anniversary! Told Harold I just want to work outside – hard physical labor type – and order out for dinner! Something nice and normal and that I can stay home to do. The journey begins on Tuesday.
PET scan was canceled because they don’t have the authorization yet from my insurance. They will call when they get it and we will reschedule. Fine with me as I need these next few days to CLEAN! Remember how I cleaned my house for the biopsy? Well…………….now I am cleaning furniture and carpeting and messy drawers and mowing the lawn and edging the sidewalk! The cleaner everything is - the more control I an in - in any given situation! Obsessive???? Yes! Do I care? No!
My friend Marian wrote that she sees Kerrie Kickass in a Madonna bustier and a Valkyrie helmet and I wrote her back that I see her dressed in black leather with spiky red hair and an ATTITUDE! She loved it!
Am doing okay today, only one crying session so far and it was over the following story by Brian Andreas (I get a Story People story every day by email). This one is called Life Cycle and I thought it particularly apropos. “This is a special bike that’s not very good at listening to excuses, so it takes you to exactly where you really want to go & if you kick & scream it makes you pedal harder & go up steeper hills until you’re too out of breath to complain & after awhile, if you’re lucky, you start to see that it doesn’t really matter it you laugh or cry, because it just wants to ride like the wind.” That’s me – I adore the wind and maybe I will just have to get me a bike so I can ride it like the wind!
Let’s end this one on a positive note. I survived the first time and I will survive this time. I have too much to do. I have such a wonderful family and great friends, my grandchildren need me in their life, I will have a new studio to first create and then work from and I have a date with the neighbor kids to go to Halloween Horror Night next year and I fully expect to keep that date!
Now for the weekly photo – this is a wonderful portrait of me and Daughter Jennifer. Don’t you just love it! Marian (webmaster extraordinaire) is adding a Blog to my regular website soon and I will post the rest of the Halloween photos and photos of the house addition so you can see them if you are interested. I will let you know when it is up and running.
Love to all,
Margot – a.k.a. Kerrie Kickass – she is the only persona this time – told you she was aggressive!
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