:: Heavy Sigh ::
Yesterday, just as I’m beginning to recover physically from surgery, I log on to my patient portal account and see the report of my lymph node biopsy from the procedure. I had been waiting for it, but felt pretty confident that my prognosis is good either way. It indicates that there is one lymph node involved; that is, cancer has spread to one node. Now that’s one out of a total of 13, which is pretty good odds and all. But even one lymph node is not a good sign. I’m pretty sure that means chemo is in my future, but I won’t know for another week. According to my surgeon, my prognosis is still good so I’m resting on that.
This morning I went for my annual mammogram appointment. This is always a bit of an ordeal, as due to my history (25-year breast cancer survivor) they always check, recheck, and then do ultrasound. I knew it would take a little time, but I was looking forward to having one thing out of the way and getting the all-clear on something, for cryingoutloud. Apparently there is a suspicious area on my mammogram that corresponds to a suspicious area on my recent PET scan. So now I have to have a breast biopsy this Tuesday morning. I (only half) jokingly told my sister I’m ready to get rid of both of them and be done with it.
Am I overwhelmed? Yes, a bit. Right now when I think about cancer I’m not sure which end is up. Literally.
Next week is full of appointments, and not the fun kind. Surgery follow-up, biopsy, and my oncologist on Thursday, then a routine (is anything routine any more?) visit with my internist the next week. Maybe I’ll get my nails done just so I can go somewhere that is not medical.
In my last post I said I’m good. That’s still true. But I’d say I’m a little more cautiously good. I know I’m not out of the woods, and, depending on the results of the breast biopsy, may or may not have more surgery in store.
Trying to navigate one cancer and another possible cancer at the same time is, I’ll admit, daunting. I’d be lying if I said I don’t have a few butterflies in my stomach. But all of the things I said in my first post about this are still true; my supportive family, my amazing church community, friends and family who care and reach out to let me know, and, most of all, my faith.
The thing about rain is that everyone on earth experiences it. Sooner or later, we’re all going to have a rainout — maybe it’s a trip we wanted to take or something we were hoping to do that just isn’t going to work out. When it rains, we find things to do inside, like curl up and take a nap, read a book, or work on an inside project.
So this won’t be the summer I finish the Couch to 5K program. I won’t run a race, and I’ve missed the opportunity to plant a vegetable garden. I’ve gotten rained out of establishing a really good gym routine (Yes, I know I can still go, but I’m in crappy shape and I don’t physically feel like it right now). This summer won’t be carefree and lazy; it’ll be filled with appointments, tests, and treatments.
In baseball, often a rainout means you have a doubleheader the next day. I like that thought; you head home, rest, and stay dry, then come out bigger and better the next day and win two games instead of one (unless you’re the 2023 Cardinals …). I think that’s what I’m going to shoot for — the double header after the rainout.
I will get through all of this somehow, one day at a time, rain or shine. I’m going to spend these rain days working on my Spanish (trabajando en mi Español), doing my The New York Times crosswords (as of today I’ve got a 200-day streak), writing, organizing my office, shopping online for fall clothes, and looking forward to our cruise in December. I found out yesterday they offer art classes, so that’s something else to look forward to — as if sipping wine on the balcony overlooking the ocean isn’t enough. Yup, I’m a blessed old chick.