Livvie got a gift card for Ben & Jerry’s for her birthday. Of COURSE she wanted a funnel cone the size of a dunce cap drenched in chocolate and sprinkles. I said YES! That’s something my grandmother would have done. I love spoiling the kids once in a while and making dinner “art” with spray cheese. We also found a house to rent on the Oregon Coast. It’s a quiet modern house with a view. Steven’s face changed when he saw it. “That’s exactly what I imagined, Mom,” he said. There’s a catch though – the kids are going to have to share a queen-sized bed. The house is so cool, they actually agreed to that. Yes! A plan. Finally.
1- Steven got some color back in his face and had a good day at school. Livvie said, “Oh Mom” and hugged me when I apologized for missing her field trip since Steven was sick. I beat myself up over disappointing her.
2- I met with a counselor today and agree with what she said: Dealing with cancer this summer is a full-time job. I didn’t know exhaustion sets in at about four weeks and continues after you’re done with radiation. At least I can plan.
3- I ran into my nurse navigator Annette today, who complimented me about this blog again. I don’t know where it will go after cancer. But I’m so happy to hear from Annette that it’s helpful.
Up until now, treatment for this whole cancer thing has been direct. No getting out of chemo. Definitely surgery. But radiation caused screeching tires and emergency stops. There has been no clear answer whether I should do it or not. Today a group of national radiology/oncology experts looked at my case and voted YES for radiation despite no clear spread to lymph nodes, which typically green lights radiation. Our first thought was to keep calling around the country until we got enough NOs. “Ultimately, this is your decision,” my radiologist said. That’s the whole problem right there. It all comes down to Did I do enough to stay around for my kids? The study behind the YES answer comes from a group of 300 women getting a 10% better chance of survival. Every time I hear a statistic, I think of “Four out of five dentists recommend….” What was the fifth guy doing? I can’t escape the feeling that if the snarky Weird Cancer triple-negative buffoon Guy comes back, I will never forgive myself for not doing every single thing I could. So, I’m sucking in another breath and moving forward. Radiation it is.
1- If I keep going to Good Sam hospital every day, maybe I can get a job there.
2- Now I can finally open that 2013 calendar that is still laminated.
Some days, you write down a to do list for yourself and have an idea how things might go. Then, the shopping cart with the trick wheel careens out of control. Yeah, that was my day. Possible bleeding in one breast that’s swollen horizontally like a loaf of bread. I waited for a couple of hours to get in for an ultrasound. Then, I noticed a stream of moms and new babies heading to a meeting room. It’s the same meeting room I used to go with my new baby and where I met one of my best friends ever, Maria. In a flash, I remembered a baby bee little Steven doing River Dance kicks in a lime and blue-striped onesie. Wow, that was 11 years ago. I ducked in and said hi to Michelle, the group leader. “Can you believe I’m still doing this?” she said. “You’ve heard it all, right?” I said.
My name was called for the ultrasound. It too was the same room I had been in last November when they found the tumor. I remember sensing something was terribly wrong when the ultrasound tech stepped out and came back in with a cart, a doctor and a nurse. They asked questions like, “How old are your kids?” “Did you drive yourself here?” “We need to do a biopsy…” I just knew it was cancer. Being in that room today brought the memories back; but most importantly, a sense of relief because I’ve done chemo and surgery. The radiologist said the swelling was from fluid, not so much bleeding. So that’s good. Tomorrow I’ll find out from the doctor what the plan is to get rid of it. On the way home, I heard stories of survival and loss in Oklahoma that reminded me that this is nothing.
1- Sending positive thoughts to families in Oklahoma.
2- Really meant to apply for a bunch of jobs today, but got derailed. There’s probably some weird reason this keeps happening. The day I found out I had cancer, I had a job interview. Brian said: “You’ll do anything to avoid full-time employment.”
3- A tiny hummingbird with a slick green back has been buzzing our yard and parking on a tomato cage to bathe. The kids and I are mesmerized by its every move. We’ve never had hummingbirds in our yard. Or, maybe we didn’t notice before.