Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy One Month Cancerversary, Here's a Kick to the Balls.

I would not recommend sitting next to me on an airplane anytime soon.

I've sitting on the wrong side of favorable statistics since November. RU-486 has a 4-6% failure rate. After suffering through the painful unpleasantness of that process three days before the 'cross state championship race, I learned two weeks later that it hadn't worked as it should.

The insertion of an IUD causes contraction-like cramping in only 7-8% of patients. Bingo!

Only 5% of breast cancers occur in women under the age of 40. Mmm-hmm.

This time last week, I was told that there was only a 10% chance that I would have additional positive lymph nodes. I chose to have an axillary node dissection during surgery anyways, just to for some peace of mind.

So much for peace of mind. I had two more positive nodes. One that had a 1cm diameter tumor.

And I still don't have clear margins. The pathology report shows additional DCIS in an area where it wasn't expected.

The doctor gave me two options. First, go in for one last attempt to clear the margins. Second, mastectomy. I've decided on the former without precluding the latter. I am still in the process of working with a genetic therapist and am scheduled to have two full-body scans next week. If the risks of recurrence are unacceptable to me, after those tests are concluded, I can deal with that surgically after chemo is concluded.

So much for my hospital-free week. Back to St. Vincent's on Wednesday morning.

To add injury to insult, I have also developed a very painful nerve issue in my left arm, probably due to swelling that is pinching a major nerve that runs from my chest to my fingertips. Most arm movement makes me feel like someone is pouring hot lead down the inside of my arm. Nothing I can much do about it right now other than stay still, keep up with the vicodin, ice my inner and under arm as much as possible and wait and see.

Being a statistical anomaly is doing nothing for my mental well being. That 90% long-term survival rate is not as soothing is it used to be. I can trust good news about as much as the body that has turned against me. Which is to say, not at all.

I've hit a mental breaking point, one which led me to think one of the thoughts I had forbidden myself to think for the last 4 weeks:


I am a fucking state champion bicycle racer. I eat vegetables, pay my bills on time, floss my teeth and use my turn signal. What is it about this universe that decided that I needed to be the one that has to be scarred, needs help bathing and getting dressed and can't even get out of bed without pain?

Something tells me that when I die, someone will tell me its because I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

Oh grrrl, I *so* know how you feel.

Similar to past advice, I give the same: just. keep. fighting. It will get better, but it may get worse first. I'm going to do what I can to get you massages. Thinking of you often.

xoxo kmac