Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And so it is

Cancer, that is. Stage 3. Two lumps: one is 8 cm, the other 5 cm. Malignant cells in my lymph node.

Ray of hope? Nothing present in my right breast, nothing remarkable in my chest wall and other areas around my left breast.

My new oncologist, Dr. A, is okay. Seems capable enough, but not exactly the firecracker Dr. R (my surgeon) is. I'm going to ask around to see if I can get an oncologist with a little more personality.

It's been a numbing, strange two days. I managed to cry at the cancer bequeathing ceremony with my GP. Inside I could predict the diagnosis, down to the size of the tumours, but it was still bizarre to get the "I don't have good news" speech without me writing it as part of some trite MOW script on its way to the Lifetime network.

Dr. B was nice enough, but with the zero touching rule again... these docs seem to have all gone to the Pretty Woman school of medicine. A little kissing would be nice at a time like this. She was concerned, in her Eastern European way, and tried to write me a prescription for sleeping pills. I had a brief Valley of the Dolls twinge that I might have succumbed to under other circumstances, but decided I needed not a thing.

I went through about 90 minutes of absolute devastation after we left Dr. B's office. I read the many pages of results and saw all the bad words. I slumped and felt old while Pete drove. I imagined nothing but my diseased body and death. The feeling wasn't sustainable, though. After a brief sit at a beach in Cadboro Bay, Pete drove me home so I could tell a few people and then off we went to the bloody mall to buy some supportive tank tops and books. I even forced myself to eat a taco to stave off the crazy a bit.

I have already talked to my girls. They're worried, but willing to agree to whatever temporary new mom-treatment rules there are. They both called me into their rooms after going to bed last night to just say, "I want you, mommy." One of those non-specific needs I'm happy to give in to.

Yesterday was amazingly strange, but I held it together for the most part after the initial meltdown. Today was also full of feelings of strength, but I was disassociated from my body and sad this afternoon.

My new cancer doctor felt me up, ordered more tests, discussed my results and gave me some non-specific recommendations (exercise, but I think you probably do already with your two girls... eat well, but it sounds like you already do... get sleep, but it sounds like you're having no problems there). Um, thanks? I was trying to grill her about giving me a shred of hope and how I could take control of the areas of my life I could, but she recommended that the full expanded test results next week would provide her with the ability to give me a full analysis/risk scenario. Oy.

My cancer book from Dr. R says that women with stage 3 cancer have between a 30-60% chance of survival after five years. Not wonderful, but not dire. Reckon I'll need to up those odds. No one's taking me yet.

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