The ribs that popped out while we were on vacation were put back in on Wednesday (Bretta found 4 ribs and 3 vertebrae hanging out on the wrong side of my spine!), but on Thursday I was in great pain again. On Friday I went to my primary care doctor in search of some tests, some answers, or some solution. As it turns out, the great Dr. J was out, but the colleague that I saw is a specialist in osteopathic medicine — and he knew how to put the ribs back in, no problem.
Well, a bit of a problem. He tried one technique and then stopped. Said he was worried about the ribs being so brittle from the radiation, and, frankly, mets.
He looked at me calmly and said “Have you had a scan recently?”
“Then I’d like you to go on Monday and get a bone scan. Breast cancer spreads to the bone, lungs, and liver first. This could be what’s weakening your ribs and causing them to pop out. In any case, we need to check to see if the cancer has metastasized to the bone before I do any more manipulations to put the ribs back in.”
Okay. Is it mets?
“I’m not saying that it is or it isn’t; just that we need to check. Okay?”
So on Monday I call to schedule my first post-chemo bone scan. We think and hope that all will be negative, that there will be no signs of the cancer’s spread, and I can get back to my life as usual. That is, building my new life, my new usual. I’m really ready for that, and ready to leave all this behind for a little while. But first, I have to have my scans, and find out what the immediate future holds for me: am I a mom trying to balance and enjoy all the demands of a thriving consulting business and a young family? Or am I a cancer patient, headed back to chemo and dependence on others?
But Miles Levine’s words stayed with me as I walked back to the car, thinking, “A moment spent moping is a moment wasted.”
So I gathered my young family up, took them out to dinner at the funky Mexican restaurant with the balloons and the tortilla maker, and packed for a fun all-day outing on Saturday. The next day, we romped with cousins and friends, enjoying the park and family despite the heat, and celebrated a family member’s milestone. It was a wonderful non-cancer day, and we hope to have many more.
I pray that the bone scan and CT turn out to be negative. I have so many plans, and so much that begs to be done. Thanks to Miles, though, I have a better outlook than I did last week. I will get the scans, but I will not waste another minute of this precious life worrying about their outcome.
I still have today.