Today, I had an appointment at 1:00 with the radiation oncologist. I went calmly confident and alone, feeling I am used to all this stuff by now. They asked me to update what I had filled out upstairs for chemo. I thought what could have changed since November, but much had changed. I was so scared when I went to chemo, I had checked a 6 for anxiety. Today, I checked a 1. I felt good. My blood pressure was normal. She came in and seemed perky, and loved my attitude and said I would do super at radiation. Of course, she also came in and said new findings showed that I needed to have another operation to remove more lymph nodes. I said, "No way! I'm not healed from the last one" She then went through a three year finding, and another 12% number, and blah, blah, blah. She is going to put my file into the Tuesday pile to make a new decision based on the new findings released in December.
It is odd because I had been wondering why a friend of a friend had more lymph nodes removed, and is doing chemo. Now, I know it is because of these findings released in December. If I had been seven weeks later in my diagnosis, they wouldn't have even given me a choice, not that it sounded like much of a choice today. She did say if I didn't do the operation, they would really target my lymph nodes with radiation.
I was feeling a bit unsettled, and so, decided to mention that when I took my shower in the morning that my breast seemed to be a little red and swollen. She checked, and in that time period, it was now totally red and hard as a rock. She quickly called for a sonagram, and so, I went from her office to the sonogram office, and had an incredibly painful sonogram, and then, waited in my little piece of cotton for a "procedure," which was the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Well, I finally found my tears. I was shaking all over and crying. She did try numbing three times, but the sonogram was painful, and going in with a needle was unbelievable. I left after 6:00 and still had to pick up my prescription for antibiotics.
Ever had a day where you felt like you were being tested? This feels like it. I tried to explain to the radiation oncologist how I was raised, and why all of this is sometimes troubling to me. She could not understand. I can tell she thinks if she gives me that 12% statistic, I will grab for it, and maybe I once would have, but now, I feel like all these percentage points I keep adding up most be over 100% by now. Today, she said there is an 8% chance it will recur anyway, even if I do it all, including the operation. That plus my 3% for dying of "other causes" makes 11%. She seemed offended when I said it seemed like a crap shoot. She told me about all their new machines, and I understand that they are top of the line. They have a machine so that if you have the type of heart that doesn't drop when you lie on your back, you use your breath with it, so that your heart isn't damaged during radiation. That was comforting.
I did notice the new meditation garden is finished. That is lovely, and I know these people are trying as hard as they can to save us, but, at some point, each one of us is going to have to ask ourselves what we are being saved for. When does our contribution stop?
When I was in so much pain with the removal of the pus from the abscess, they kept telling me how much better I would feel. I didn't even know I had it. I am so used to discomfort that I had not even felt what was going on with my breast. I have been focused on my feet, and the unpleasantness there. Today, I was reminded of my oncologist's words, "There are no good days in chemo." I realized that there are days of more or less pain, but it is like there is always something nagging, and so it is hard to pay attention to everything.
There could be many reasons for the abscess, but what I think is this. I had my fifth free massage on Monday. He asked if he could put some special healing oil on my scar. I think that was a mistake. Also, they said the blood vessel that was broken from the biopsy is weakened, so any touching can cause this problem.
Well, there is one bit of brightness. In all this time, Steve and I have not even gone to a movie. I have stayed out of all crowded places since Cirque du Soleil. Well, Jan, got tickets for the two of us to see Rachel Naomi Remen Saturday night. If you don't know of her, read her books. She is a wonderful woman, a medical doctor, and a pioneer in alternative health care. To ensure I won't get overtired, Steve and I are even spending the night at the hotel where she is speaking, a Sheraton in Petaluma, 20 miles from our home. Well, I still felt some concern about being in a group, but now, I am on antibiotics, so, I should be okay.
What a zoo. I guess in this moment, I can laugh, perhaps, because I was finally able to cry. I should have taken someone with me to this appointment. It was an overwhelming amount of information. That would have been enough, the news on the operation, but then, the sonogram, and the "procedure." It felt over the top, and I am here. I continue to survive, so, there it is, and, in this moment, I am again calm.
Take care, everyone. Take care! Our time is precious here. It is very precious indeed!