I told my mom today that I feel like I’m being handed the pieces to a puzzle, but I don’t yet have the picture on the box to know what the puzzle looks like. I don’t even know if all these pieces fit together to make a single puzzle, or if I’m working with multiple puzzles.
We’re still waiting for results of the skin punch biopsy and the chest CT. Those hold the next key puzzle pieces. Once we have those, we’ll either have a road map, or …. we’ll be back to the drawing board. At this point, it could go either way, honestly. I won’t be surprised either way.
I did meet with my radiation oncologist today. I like her a lot – she’s spunky, too. She outlined the radiation road map, should the biopsy come back negative. If that’s the case, then the most likely scenario is a lumpectomy, followed by radiation. Radiation would be 20 minutes per day, every day, for 5-6 weeks. It normally would be 3-4 weeks, but because of all that’s happening with my skin, she feels it would be better to go with a lower dose for a longer period. This could change a bit depending on what transpires during surgery – if the lymph nodes are involved, if the margins are involved, etc. And then there’s still the questions around chemotherapy.
So, for whatever that’s worth….. there it is.
I did get the results of the abdominal / pelvic CT. Nothing that affects the breast cancer, but apparently I have a cyst on my kidney and “ill-defined density” at the neck of my gall bladder. The cyst supposedly isn’t a big deal (according to the internet). The gall bladder, they suggest I get an ultrasound to examine further. Because I don’t already spend enough time in doctors’ offices.
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There’s a reality that sets in once you have time to just exist. This past weekend was the first time that I really had that, and there’s no way to really prepare for it. I’ve been pretty matter of fact, forge ahead, do what needs done so far.
But having a chance to just sit with it sent my anxiety spiraling. I’m OK. I got it reigned in. There’s just a very different vibe to having cancer as an adult with responsibilities and relationships than having cancer as a kid when all you have to worry about is the cancer. And I’m super lucky and super grateful that I don’t have some of the super stressors that so many others do. For example, I’m not worried about the impact on my employment. I have an amazingly supportive environment and manager (and I’m not just saying that because she may well read this) and I know that I have the care and support I need in that regard. I’m not terribly concerned about finances, because I have reasonably good health insurance. I don’t have a spouse or children to be concerned about.
But I do have family that’s 600 miles away. I do have a roommate who is very much affected by my well being, and the effects of my illness and treatment. I do have responsibilities and an existence that I’ve built and want to maintain.
There’s also whole new aspects to treatment to consider. Surgery is a big deal, no matter which type I end up having. Radiation is a big deal. Chemotherapy sucks, and I’m hoping to not have to deal with it again, but if I do, I do. And all of those are a little bit scary. Surgery recovery could be a real bear. Am I even going to be able to stand up on my own?
I guess I’m just saying that I’m normal after all. I’m anxious and worried and scared. I’m also trying not to go down any rabbit holes and only assess facts as they come in. They’re just not coming in fast enough!