Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"You Have Cancer"versary

In the middle of the night between Wednesday, August 16 and August 17th of 2010 I had a dream that I needed to express breast milk, as I had done when I was nursing my children.  That Friday evening, August 19th, Richie and I were packing to head out for a well needed Adult weekend trip to the coast, when I noticed a lump in the right breast. I’ve often thought, had we not been going on that little trip, it is very likely that I would not have noticed that lump until the next time we were scheduled to relax, which could have been months.  That trip, being the first planned relaxation in months.   On the drive to the coast, we actually had time to discuss the thing,  and we both thought it was likely hormonal.  On the following Tuesday 8/24 I ran 9 miles in the morning and I felt good.  Wednesday night, however, I woke up at night with pain in my right breast.  This, I knew was not good.  I remembered learning in Physical Therapy school that pain that wakes you up at night, can be Cancer pain.  This, pain and this knowledge spurred me hard to call my Gynecologist first thing on Thursday morning to try to get in to see her that day.  This is the woman whom I had trusted to assist us in delivering a healthy baby boy, after our traumatic experience with Adaline’s birth.  My doctor was off that day, however, because she dares to have balance between her career and life.  (Actually one of the reasons I like her. I’ve even seen her out on the trail, believe it or not), so I went in to see a resident who was covering for her that day.  The resident said something about a 3 centimeter mass, ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound and assured me that usually these things are not cancer. 

The next morning, on Friday August 27, 2010, I got up, and went to have the Mammogram and ultrasound, which were to be my first, because I had turned 40 just 4 months prior.   I had gone to the appointment alone, and I was, of course, scheduled to go to work after the appointment, because I was not expecting to hear any results from the test on that day.  I mean, you never get results on the same day for anything…right? So…needless to say,  I was pretty much beside myself…. Literally….my body was  on the table and my mind was somewhere off to the side looking down on the whole situation….. when, at the end of the mammogram, I found myself asking the Radiologist to repeat what she had just said because I had not understood a word, and she said…  “We think….. You Have Cancer”.  Somewhere, sometime after that, she went on to say that I would need 3 biopsies to confirm.  We would need to biopsy the tumor itself, the Lymph nodes, and the Calcium deposits.  Next thing I remember, I’m sitting in my MiniVan calling my Mom to tell her what I had just heard, and then calling my boss to fill him in.  Not really the second person I would have chosen to call, but I just wasn’t sure how long it was going to take me to drive the 4 miles back to work in my state.

A MERE 7, anxiety ridden days later, on Friday September 3rd 2010 I found myself stuck in traffic on my way to the scheduled Core Needle Biopsy ,  or......Living Hell.  It was very cool that my friend Lisa had offered to meet me there at the waiting room (very insightful of her) because she had made it on time, so I was able to call her and they were able to let the desk know I was on my way.  That helped calm me.  During the Biopsies and ultrasound, they would not allow anyone into the room, which, in retrospect was pretty mean, but probably a good thing that no one who knows me was there to witness this torture.   Lisa ended up leaving, going for a run, and making it back to meet me for a really nice lunch at the Outdoor French CafĂ©’ across the street.   Fortunately, it took her a few minutes to park and this had given me a chance to call my close friend Cindy to tell her what had been going on, and had given my tears some time to dry up before going into the nice restaurant (with my ice pack on my chest).  To this day, I believe this to be the most painful procedure I’ve had done yet for this cancer treatment.

Within 2 weeks, on 9/15/2010 I was lying on a surgical table (with my supine resting heart rate, 37….which was normal for me at the time…running 40 to 50 miles a week), prepping to have the port-a-cath for the chemotherapy, surgically implanted. This time, my friend Cindy was by my side, and they let her sit there for everything that I was awake for.  Compared to the biopsies, I remember thinking this was like a day at the spa with a friend.   We had some really good laughs, and got to catch up.   I’m pretty sure I started blogging around this time, so most of the rest has been documented.  24 weeks of chemo, baldness, neuropathies, menopause, fatigue, mastectomy, drain tubes, radiation, etc.  

One thing that I did not blog about at the time, (because I didn’t yet have my blog…I was only doing emails) was my haircut prior to my hair falling out.  I’m gonna do that now, because today I had my first haircut (not counting the Shaving) since that day September 29, 2010.  Really this is more of a photo op, but, since I’m currently going through some self-confidence issues in the looks department, and since I found myself showing these photos to the girl who just cut my hair to prove that I used to have pretty hair and look like a girl, that I would go ahead and show the rest of the world.
This is what my hair looked like on the day after first chemo.
I had it cut shorter because they told me it was going to fall out in 2 weeks. 

They were right, so i had it shaved once it started to fall out.

My hair before the haircut when it was still looking cute. Trust me it was getting funky.

Next Weekend, Saturday August 27 is my “You Have Cancerversary”.  In typical Emily fashion, I did not realize this until it was much too late to schedule anything fun for myself.  While my best friend will be lounging by an infinity pool only miles away, and my husband will be recording some badass song in the recording studio, I will be caring for my children and assisting Adaline in pony riding at an outdoor birthday party for 6 year olds between 3-5 pm.  I’m pretty sure the forecast is over 105 degrees.  While intitially this sounds uncomfortable, things are relative.  It sure beats what I did last year on August 27.  It will be a good day, and i will celebrate inside :) Other sweaty parents at the party may even wonder why i have a smile on my face.   And, at least this haircut will come in handy there.

1 comment:

  1. Haircut looks fantastic! My first haircut will be the first week of September. I hope it does indeed keep you cool at the bday party!