Before I get into the nitty gritty of today, I want to talk a bit about the word nonsense. If you have spoken to me, you may have heard me use the word nonsense when referring to my cancer or the trauma that lies ahead. I call it nonsense for several reasons. Even though I know this is all real, it still doesn't quite feel like it is. I am not completely sure it ever will. Or at least not any time soon. It still has an etheral-like quality, almost nonsensical. I also call it nonsense because me getting this crazy disease doesn't make a whole lot of sense medically considering the whole lack of family history part, being so young, etc. I also call it nonsense because when all of this is done, I think it will feel like it was not as big of a deal as it seems today. I know that sounds weird. What I mean by this is that there are days when I feel like it's the end of the world. But it's not. I mean, let's not kid ourselves, it's huge and life-changing. But it is not the end of the world. It's like I said to my mom. It's life-changing, but it's not life-ending, even if it feels that way sometimes.
As for the emotion of the day, the title is silly because, to be honest, it would be more accurate to say "emotion of the minute". It changes that fast. But I'm going to generalize and go with the more prevalent emotion today which is fear in its various forms... And how I conquered it --- at least for now.
The fear is of the unknown. What is it going to feel like when I have my surgery? What is it going to be like to go through chemo? I had my meeting with my Oncologist today. I feel better already. Here are a two sound bites from the meeting that gave me hope.
- "There is nothing here that tells me we can't cure this for you. We can do this". She said what I have is very treatable.
- "It wont be a picnic, but it's not as bad as it used to be." Ok, well, that's good... I think.
Well, that's really all I need to know. But the detailed information is good to know too I guess, so here's the more detailed stuff:
- Treatment will likely start 4-6 weeks after surgery. My next appointment with her to start scheduling is on July 12th.
- The only major outstanding piece of information is the Her2 receptor status. (which is something to do with how the tumors grow or something). She got back from the oncology report that my tumors are "borderline". The value to be considered positive is 2.8, mine came back 2.7. She wants the surgeon to get that redone with the samples from the surgery. She said it will most likely be positive.
- If it is positive, here is the chemo plan: 6 cycles, each cycle lasting 3 weeks. Plus Herceptin treatments beyond the chemo for a year. Herceptin has minimal side effects compared to the chemo part, so basically, the first 4 and a half months will not be fun, and the rest should be fine. Will have tamoxifen probably for 5 years. may have radiation after chemo that is every day for a month, but no major side effects that will affect my ability to do stuff.
- If it is negative, the chemo will be 8 cycles, every 2 weeks. no herceptin treatment. tamoxifen and radiation same as above.
As for the hair loss thing, it's probably going to happen. It will likely start to fall out after the second treatment. blah. I guess I need to suck it up and go wig shopping soon. :-/ what color should I go??? So far, I have a vote for blonde, one for red, one for black, and one for a clown wig.
On another note, she was pleased to hear that I chose to go with the double mastectomy. She felt like it was good to go aggressive given my age, type of tumor, etc. She feels like sometimes they dance around it to do the breast preservation, and it only makes things harder and less certain for the future. She said with the course that I am taking, there is no reason I can't be here no until I am 70, 80 or more. So y'all are stuck with me. Suckers!
So I know what chemo does, and I am ready for it to do its job. I want it to kill the fear. The more I take treatments, in someways, the stronger I will become, metaphorically of course. This is how I am looking at it. Even though I know it's going to make me feel sicker than I feel now, it's attacking the nonsense in my body. I need to do that. I am pissed that this stuff is in my body and I am tired of worrying about what it's doing rolling around in there. I want to kill it! I'm viewing chemo like bug spray that takes out a giant wasp or something. I have been known to spray the heck of of something like that. I hate bugs... I hate cancer more.
So bottom line: how do you beat cancer? you fight it with a whole lot of hope and a whole lot of technology!