Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Coping

I didn't get the drain out (it is still in, at 8 days post-surgery) but it hardly matters. When I saw the surgeon he had "unexpected" results to tell me. I have another "infiltrating tumor" in addition to the DCIS before, and he did take 5 lymph nodes (explaining why my incision reached all the way under my pit) and that of the 5 nodes, one has tumor cells also. He told me I need an oncologist "for the next phase" I think his words were. I forgot to ask stage and size, I was still processing an invasive tumor. I go to the surgeon today for the drain and sutures out, I hope to learn more. I have found an oncologist that everyone seems to favor, two partners actually. Will call for an appointment after the stitches are out.

From what I have read, the next step is to get a body scan (MRI or PET, I think) to look for another tumor elsewhere, and then (if found) chemo and/or radiation. The radiation is ironic; I wore a film badge most of my working life as I handled radioisotopes used for biomedical research, and I made certain they were always, with a few exceptions, background.

I hope that nothing else is found, and that removing the breast and the positive node is all that is necessary. Maybe just monitoring. They did take blood for a tumor marker measurement (CA 25-27 I think; why can't I remember to write these things down?!!) I thought at this point I would be looking into mastectomy bras and prostheses, not contemplating chemo/radiation. Life sure has some ups and downs...

I want to thank all of you who have commented, most coming in from a post on "Iwasntbloggedtesterday" it has been both unexpected and thoughtful, to get such support in this crazy time. Retiring in 2006 left an ever-diminishing group of friends, one of those things you don't think about until it happens, though I treasure the support from the ones that remain. It is *awkward* to call someone for lunch and then say "Oh, by the way, I have cancer." Kind of a conversation stopper, don't you think?

Well, if my hair falls out that will save a lot of explaining, I guess. I wonder what my bald head would look like?

I'm coping, one day at a time.

Bumper sticker of the day: " Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car."

2 comments :

Dina said...

I love the bumper sticker about the aliens.

I'm sorry you got bad news from the doctor. Hopefully, everything will be okay eventually.

I can imagine it's extra hard not having a lot of close friendships. You don't seem to have a very strong support system. I imagine that happens to a lot of people who have cancer. They either don't have strong friendships to begin with, or their "friends" scatter out of fear.

Hopefully, you'll be able to build up relationships...in real life and online. That might make things a bit less awful.

IWASNTBLOGGEDYESTERDAY said...

I'm the same Redhead, my family would have to take up the slack if the same happened they've had to really with my chronic arthritis.
Dina is right about friends and illness fear and thats x 100 with cancer.
I hope things settle soon and you get a clear picture of whats to happen.
Glad to hear you are coping.Love the bumper stickers too :)
big hug have been thinking about you,wondering how you were going.