This sucks.

March 21, 2010

I’m trying to be all zen and all about it, and live each day to the fullest so that no matter what I have no regrets, but really?

This sucks.

It sucked that I got cancer once, and it sucks that I might have it again.

And it REALLY sucks that my friends Sarah and Judy and Frances and Stella and Sheri and Susan R and Lorri and Mary Beth and Jenster and Angela and Aimee and Hedgie and Jen and Jen and Andrea and KT and Lisa and Manda and so many, many others have had to fight it too.

It’s just so … useless.

Today, it makes me angry. Mad beyond words, and not at all confident that we are even the last to fight this horrible, horrible disease, or set of diseases that today we call cancer.


After the biopsy…

March 19, 2010

… I was wiped.  I’m ok, and I have some funny stories to tell about the grueling adventure that was an ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy (and when I say biopsy, I mean EIGHT large needles stuck in my armpit and through the nasty lymph nodes, taking samples of the tissue all the way through; there were a total of twelve needles in my armpit during the procedure yesterday).  But today, I rest, and catch up on a few things that I can do from bed.

I will tell you all about it, I promise; I just don’t think I can stand to re-live it right now.

Tonight, I’m determined to get out and go out with my friends.  If you’re looking for something to do and you’re in the D.C. area, why not join usJessica throws an AWESOME party, and there will be swag.  (Why yes, it is a blogger party.  How could you tell?)

Love to you all,

Susan


Before the biopsy

March 18, 2010

I’ve done this before.  I’ve waited for doctor’s appointments where I feared worried about the outcome.  I’m pretty sure we all have, between our own, our kids’, and our parents’ appointments.  We know how it will go, and we know there will be more waiting afterwards, for tests, pathology, or treatment, and yet we fritter our time away worrying about fearing the result.

It’s not been an easy week.

But it has been the best that it could have been, I think. The Moms and I have had playdate after playdate in the bright sunshine and the cool air of parks around the county and our own backyards.  The kids have played and hollered and laughed in glee as they rode their tricycles and bikes with training wheels around and around the walking trail.  C has been the best of all husbands, cooking, reassuring, keeping me company as I go to doctor after doctor and test after test, and making sure that the children are happy and engaged, my wishes for them.  Facebook friends from back home, from college, from work, and from play cheer me on, and every time I get down, I come back here and read comment after comment wishing me well and making me laugh (Really, Sarah, you wouldn’t send me a lock of your hair? But Devra had such a great idea!  I KID.)  Twitterfriends send me messages at all times of day or night (Hi, Kate! It’s great to have NZ friends who are up when I can’t sleep!) wishing me well and wishing this cancer to go away.

For it is probably a cancer.

But there will be time to talk about the cancer.  Today I want to capture the lightness of the last week, the deepness of friendship, the hugs that have made me cry and taken away a bit of the fear with each one.  The hugs that don’t come easy to some of you (Hi, Kristen!) or remind you of family who you have lost to this dreadful beast (oh, so many of you to list — but you know who you are, and so do I, and I don’t know that you want your names bandied about so casually), but that you give.  Because you are givers.  You are, overwhelmingly, moms, and you make me teary and grateful that motherhood expands our hearts so much that not only is there enough love for each child, but there’s always a little extra for a friend, without diminishing what was there was before.

Last night was no exception.

Around 9, I was expecting a friend who had called and asked if she could drop something by.  I had been mopey since well before dinner, and C thought that it would be a great idea to distract me (I was way mopey. I’m not proud of it, but I’m always honest here, so I’ll admit it.).  So I put the children down, told them story after story as they fell to sleep, and then got up to see my friend.  Thinking I heard her van door, we walked outside in our PJs, and were startled by the clear, crisp night, and bright constellations that shone above.  We stood on an old tree stump to get a better view — and I was struck by the ridiculousness of it all, by the sheer humor in the situation — tomorrow, I would have a surgical biopsy that would tell me whether there was surgery, radiation, chemo, or nothing at all in my future, and tonight I had the GALL to fritter away hours with worry.  Hours I would want back.

And so, I began to dance.  I pulled C up on the stump with me, and convinced him to do a little jig with me, on the stump, in the moonlight, with the stars our audience, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the leprechauns, and the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

We danced in celebration of life.

Car after car pulled up at the neighbor’s house, and a group of moms gathered, giggly after a night out or in anticipation of a night in, and we glanced at them, with, admittedly, a little envy.  C said, “Hey, look — Moms Night Out!” And we laughed, and grasped each other’s hand, and went inside to wait for L.

Not five minutes later, the doorbell rang.  The children slept soundly, and I opened the door to find — not L, but FIVE of the Moms, bearing pie (from L), and gifts, and cards, and hugs.

We talked the night away, about children, about kindergarten, about the little ones, about our own work and hopes and dreams, and not about cancer.

And that was the best present I could have ever hoped for.  As I finally fell into bed, my last thoughts were not of cancer. Not of worry. Not of fear.  But of friendship.

Making it easy to face today.


After the oncologist…

March 15, 2010

So. The scan was Wednesday.  The results came Friday at 5. I told you guys Saturday morning, and 100 of you have already come by and left me sweet notes on this site, wishing me well and keeping me well-stocked with hugs.  Thank you.

Thanks also to my MARVELOUS D.C. friends — Moms Club friends who have rallied and are helping me make appointments, blogger friends who are picking me up and taking me to blogger parties to keep my mind off of things, and all of you here and on FB.  It’s been an easy weekend, in sharp contrast to the very tough days I had Thursday and Friday.

Today we went to the oncologist.  After waiting an hour and a half, she came in to tell us the same things we’d been told by the primary care doc on Friday.  Plus she’s got a consult lined up with the surgeon for tomorrow, and they’ll schedule me for a surgical biopsy later this week.

We talked again about the options.  Here’s her take:

a) lymphoma?  Possible.

b) inflammatory breast cancer recurrence?  Possible.

c) metastasis? Possible.  A recurrence would BE metastasis, though, so there actually isn’t a distinction between b and c.  It would be metastasis, recurring locally in a distant area.

d) inflammation or infection? Anything’s possible.

Tomorrow, I wait for the surgeon’s assistant to call and schedule the ultrasound, consult, and surgical biopsy.  We won’t know anything else until we get the results.

I did get kinda good news — there is only a very small chance that this will result in a lifetime chemotherapy regimen.  I clung to that shred of good news like it was a golden ticket, and we celebrated by taking the family out to dinner.  It is good news, you see.

I don’t fear recurrence.  I don’t fear a new cancer (although my husband says if we do have a THIRD cancer in THREE years that he’s sending my tissue out for research).  In all honesty, I did fear a lifetime of chemo, since I don’t handle chemo all that well. I get tired. Exhausted tired.  And I wasn’t ready for that.

I don’t know how to sum up this post.  Good news? Great news? Sad news? No news?  Anyway. I’m taking you all along with me here, and this is where we are.  Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

… READY TO FIGHT.