Looking forward…

I’ve had another rotten weekend, weakened from the chemo, fighting fatigue and anger and pain in my bones and joints, spent sitting still to avoid angering those bones and joints, waiting to see what will happen.  Will the pain and aches and fatigue resolve on their own this week?  Will we be able to go back for the next-to-last chemo on Thursday, and finish the series the next Thursday, just after Christmas?  Or will we be sucked into a whirlwind of a different sort, a twist waiting just ’round the bend, a frenzied blizzard of activity that hovers like the heavy air before a storm?

We’re hoping for the former.  Praying, actually.  I would dearly love to finish chemo on the 27th, 11 days from now, and get to surgery in January.  And, barring a repeat of last week’s neuropathy, we will.

After that, things should get much easier around here.

We met with the radiation oncologist on Friday, a lovely woman with big eyes and a kind heart, who smiled when I asked her how many IBC patients she’d seen.  “Many, many,” she replied, confident, with a touch of sadness.  “There’s always at least one being treated here, even though it’s not at all common.”  That’s what comes of living in the city, you know.  High densities of people mean high densities of disease, even somewhat rare ones.  And although every radiation oncologist may not have this kind of experience, ours does, and it cheers me — momentarily — until I remember that her experience is a function of other people’s suffering.  But I have no time to reflect on that now, for she is asking me questions about my health history, my pregnancies, my babies, any family history of breast cancer, and how my cancer was detected.  She marvels at the wisdom of babies, and smiles at Little Bear, who is waking up now, in his father’s arms, smiling but a little confused at the sterile office instead of his own cuddly blue nursery.

After a quick exam, the oncologist is confident again, stating how much the chemotherapy has helped me and how it looks like there shouldn’t be a problem getting clean margins, unless there is a spot of cancer below, hiding where it can’t be easily seen or felt.  We will have the surgery in January, and then daily physical therapy to help me move my arms above my head once again.  (It will be difficult to do at first because of the radial axillary dissection — basically, the removal of the lymph nodes under my arm — and the muscles that will be cut during that part of the surgery.)  Once I can raise my arms above my head and hold them there for 30-40 minutes, I can come in and start the process for radiation.

This all sounds good.  Very good.

The oncologist smiles, chuckles at Little Bear, and reminds me to do my exercises as she moves on to her next appointment.  We are left once again in a small white room with each other, my husband and I, and it feels for a moment like one of so many prenatal appointments that we’ve attended together, and I wish for a moment that it were.

But then I regret that thought, and banish it from my mind.  For we are so lucky to have our children, Widget and Little Bear, and, as we walk slowly from the room, hand-in-hand-in-toddling hand and smiling at each other, we know just how lucky we are.


33 Responses to Looking forward…

  1. BetteJo says:

    Oh the plan sounds like it will finally happen – neuropathy is simply not welcome and there is SO much light at the end of the tunnel! Praying for you – sending hugs and oh my gosh – all my good wishes and hopes.

  2. mcgearstella says:

    You continually amaze me. Your strength and courage are unbelievable!
    I am praying for chemo next week. And I am praying for you to have a wonderful Christmas followed by a final chemo treatment. I am praying for you and your family and the plan because I want more than anything for it all to work for you. You deserve to have it work.
    Thoughts and prayers coming your way.

  3. jen says:

    oh sister. the sheer courage of it all. you are so very beautiful.

  4. I constantly marvel at the glowing positivity that shines through in your posts…

    Hoping the side-effects ease up soon, praying the neuropathy does not return, so that you can stick to your schedule!

    How wonderful that there are only two treatments left, and equally wonderful that you have such caring, highly-qualified professionals working with you to beat this disease.

    Thinking of you, Whymommy– clean margins for you is right up at the top of my Christmas wish list!!

    Lots of love, as always, CGF xo

  5. I’m sorry the weekend was not so fun, but it sounds like you’re moving in the right direction. I am praying that you have chemo the next two weeks, then clean margins and surgery in January. I know your positive attitude will make a difference in your fight. I’m sending prayers and good thoughts your way.

  6. Bon says:

    you’re stronger than i, to be able to perform those banishments of thought…and wise, i think. might-have-beens are the antithesis of clean margins, in a sense.

    i am so pulling for those clean margins, my friend.

  7. Stimey says:

    I’m so sorry you had such a tough weekend. Remember on Friday when you were slinging Little Bear around with your weak arm and had no pain? It’s hard to remember when you’re in the thick of it, I’m sure, but you’ll be there again. And soon. Oh, so soon, WhyMommy. You’ll be there.

  8. nsbmom says:

    Bless you my dear. My thoughts and prayers are with you as always.

  9. Hi Susan – I love how you write “another rotten weekend” – not because you had one but because you call it like it is! 🙂 Here’s to clean margins and unrotten weekends. – Amy

  10. juliepippert says:

    Grace. Courage. And hope. I am so glad that it looks as if all is coming around as you need it to. More P&PTs for finishing this round and clean margins.

    Using My Words

  11. Meleah says:

    You are entitled to every thought you have. They are yours and they are they are there for a reason. What makes you so amazing is your powerful perspective. I know it is hard to hold onto and sometimes hard to get back to, but you inspire me daily with your ability to move back into a space of gratefulness and gratitude. I think of you often and I am sending you joy, strength, and as always healing.

  12. WorksForMom says:

    I heart you WM. I can see the light for you my friend. You’re almost THERE.

  13. Joc says:

    Sorry to hear you had a bad weekend, praying lots that you finish chemo this year as hoped for. Keep your spirits up.

    I’ve been reading here for a while, but never commented before, but I wanted to say you are a truly inspirational woman, I admire your strength, your ability to see clearly and with hope, and your obvious love and affection for your family. I wish you all the best in your treatment.

  14. mummycha says:

    I am really really sorry that you had again a bad time this weekend. I am also so so so so so so happy to hear that the chemo is doing its job and that you are on the right track to get rid of that stinky stuff
    Soon, these rotten weekends will just become bad memories, fading away as you go on enjoying a great life with your wonderful family

    Wishing you what it takes to finish 2007, and lots of clean margins for 2008!

  15. kgirl says:

    such good news! may there be lots more.

  16. Alice C says:

    Sending you love.

    If you add it to all the other love that is coming your way you can wrap it around the parts that ache and maybe it will soothe that pain.

  17. cancervixen says:

    Thank you for such sincere reflection of your office visit. I have had that exact same moment of my baby waking up in the office visit. You really have a way with words. Thank you

  18. such a beautiful post, friend.
    you’re so close now!

  19. Lindsey says:

    You are so, so close. Girl, you know how proud of you we are, yes? So, so, so, so proud.

  20. Dusting off the garden furniture. Under the tree or in the sunshine? Boo’s cubby will be up soon and Widget can come and play. The weather is great here all year round (I have only seen snow once in my life and had to drive hours to find it) so whenever you are ready, we are ready. 🙂

    Thankfully I have finished most of my Christmas present wrapping 😉 cause it would be hard to wrap presents with my fingers crossed for you till Thursday next week!

  21. sherry says:

    Prayers are with you that the plan moves as you would like…your spirit and your attitude are strong..you have moments of thinking of “what if” or “I wish this was” and you stop yourself and move on. This is good. You acknowledge what you want and then re-focus…that is strength and courage at it’s best.

    You will find that the time between the axillary recovery and the rads will move faster than you thought, and I love that you have faith in the radiation oncologist.

    Sending you healing blessings as you finish out the taxol.

  22. Jenn says:

    I can almost feel it; the light at the end of this tunnel for you.

    I hope you can, too.

  23. Emily says:

    You are so very, very close. And your spirit is fantastic.

  24. jj says:

    I’m sorry your weekend stank.

    But this is happy thoughts all around.

    I am looking forward with you friend.

  25. You never cease to amaze me.


  26. Ally says:

    You are such a marvel, managing to end this post with such gratitude after spending the weekend suffering. My prayers are with you, that your chemo will stay on schedule, that you’ll get to have surgery in January, and everything will go just as planned. Hugs and more hugs!

  27. Joanna says:

    I’m looking forward with you, WM. You are so, so strong. It sounds promising, all of it – your results after taking a wee break, and here you are so darn close to being finished with these treatments. I will pray that the plan goes accordingly, and of course, I do hope you are feeling a bit better here as the days go by. Any strength is surely a blessing. Keep on girlfriend; you are so almost there.

  28. Alesia says:

    I cried when I read this. You’re SO CLOSE. I’m sending warm and healing thoughts your way. Blessings on you and your family.

  29. Paulette says:

    I came by to check on you today and pray for you. Hang in there we are all praying for you, I am so sorry you are having to fight this fight but I am grateful you are so close to having the surgery. Keep fighting and I will keep praying!!
    Blessings to you today

  30. Marie T says:

    We will keep you in our nightly “Hi God” prayer — thankful for your continued healing — hopeful that you continue to on your path towards health — and amazed at your strength. Thankful — Hopeful — Amazed — all in your direction.

  31. Lindsey says:

    worried about you. you never go this long without posting!

  32. jackieb27 says:

    You haven’t posted in several days, and that is not like you. I hope you and the family are ok. My prayers are with.

  33. monica karge says:

    Wishing you the best,

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