Pre-op chaos

February 6, 2012:

MRI day which is something that I have experience before with my shoulder and neck injuries. I got headphones the last time and was able to listen to music which helped me relax. No such luck this time, no music. Then I had to lay face down on the table and my boobs were in the opening and left to hang down. I remember thinking that this wasn’t going to be fun. It was uncomfortable but I made it through.

February 7, 2012:

Pre-op testing at the hospital and my partner goes with. A ton of questions later, x-rays, and stop all your vitamins and such because surgery is scheduled for the 22nd. I get everything prepared and scheduled to be off of work. We are still able to go to Daytona for the Budweiser Shootout and then surgery is that next week. So I will still get to visit the Holy Ground of Nascar and hear those engines roar to start the 2012 Nascar Sprint Cup Season. We muddle through another Valentine’s Day.

February 16, 2012:

Follow up appointment with Dr. B in regards to the MRI and to go over his final plans for the surgery. I have my head wrapped around what needs to be done. Dr. B is not happy with the MRI images. He is very concerned that there is more than isn’t being seen. He wants to postpone surgery a week and get more tests. I am peeved because this throws me for a loop. I was set and now more tests, not liking the sound of that.

We head out on our vacation. I am starting to not feel so well but keep soldiering on. It is probably my nerves or just the stress of the upcoming testing.

February 21, 2012:

Another ultrasound biopsy but at a different location which is preferred by Dr. B. She is having difficulty getting to the areas that Dr. B had pointed out in the MRI. She suggests doing an MRI guided biopsy to determine if the area seen in the MRI is cancerous or not. I am really starting to not feel well on a daily basis. I am more and more tired.

February 23, 2012:

MRI guided biopsy day which means laying on my stomach with my boobs hanging out of the bottom of the table again. This time a plastic grid cage is tightly screwed onto my breasts. This is to aid in the targeting system of the biopsy needle. This is really uncomfortable and I am not feeling well at all. I do my best to remain still as I am moved in and out of the machine. I try to think of other things as they moved me my boobs around and re-position the grid cage several times. It seems like an eternity and I am about to go crazy. The procedure is finally done and I go home to rest after taking a pain pill.

February 28, 2012:

It is the day before the surgery. As far as I knew, the plan was still the same of doing a lumpectomy and radiation. I thought no news was good news regarding the MRI guided biopsy. I was feverishly working to get my department ready for the co-worker to cover while I was off on medical leave for three months. Near lunch time, my partner calls, and tells me that she needs my full attention. My heart sinks into my stomach. I feel a wave of direness come over me. I go to the back conference and training room which is empty. She had received the call from Dr. B in regards to results. She had changed the phone number so that she could deal with things on my behalf. She told me to sit down. I more collapsed rather than sat into the nearest chair. She said the MRI guided biopsy showed that the right breast was full of cancer more than the area that was originally suspected. She said, “I made a decision for you and you have to understand why. It is for your health and your chance of surviving this with full recovery.” She went on to say that the new plan was a full mastectomy of the right breast. Dr. B was also going to test the lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread. She also advised that if any lymph nodes were positive, she had given the okay to have them removed. I would now have to have chemotherapy as well since the new area of concern had grown since the other MRI. I was mortified. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I couldn’t catch a breath to respond to her. She could hear me crying and told me that she was coming to get me and we would worry about my vehicle later. I became angry, not at her for making the decisions, she was looking out for my best interests. Dr. B had said this was the only way to be sure that they get everything and for me to be completely clear of the cancer. I told her that I would finish up here because I had paperwork to do for the medical leave and that I would drive myself home. She understood. I gathered myself and went up to my office and spoke with the Captain and Lieutenant to apprise them of the situation. We work quickly on getting the paperwork done. On my way home, I contact Amy and spoke with her to tell her the news. She had taken the day after my surgery off to be available to help take care of me since my partner couldn’t get all the time off of work. I had to make arrangements with my parents to be there in the morning when my partner had to leave to take her son to school. My partner told me that she was spending the night with me at the hospital and that she had lined up her son’s father to take him after school for the next few days so all her concentration could be on me.

Thankful 2014

I have never really written down what I am thankful for. Guess that is a little bad of me. However, I do think about it so don’t call me selfish or anything else not good. I just haven’t typed it out or written it out. Have you ever thought about “If I could go back and changes things, would you?” There have been a few occasions throughout my bad times that I thought about that. I would like to unmeet a few people. I would like to be stronger sooner in my life. I would like to have some choices to do over. We have all done things we aren’t proud of. We all have things we wish we could take back. We all can say that whether it is out loud or secretly to ourselves. It is part of human nature.

However, would those changes allow me to be the person that I am today. Everything that we experience in life molds us into whom we are later in life. I like who I am and with all the trials and tribulations have become a very strong, independent thinking woman. Things that have happened to me have made the strong, courageous woman that is typing this blog.

I am thankful for my health. I am on an upswing after this latest surgery for my kidney stone. I am feeling good and working out once again. Right now, I am a little worn down with a cold but that is only temporary. I am thankful that I have my parents and my second family. I am thankful that I was able to rescue Batman. He has certainly been a joy. I am thankful for the 17 years spent with Boo. She was my baby through thick and thin. I am thankful for social media because with it, I have gotten in contact with some folks that I haven’t spoken with in years. Twitter has also put in touch with some great new people.

I hope that everyone takes a moment to think about what they are thankful for. Please do not forget to say a prayer for those serving in the military without whom we wouldn’t be free to have things to be thankful for. I always support our Troops. Please be safe this holiday week.

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And So It Begins

January 31, 2012

First appointment with Dr. Blumencranz to get a consultation on the situation before me with my breast cancer. In the waiting room there is a huge display case of all kinds of pink ribbon items like baseballs, baseball gloves, baseball bats, jerseys, and pictures. To me right now, it is a bit overwhelming. Me and my partner go into the examing room. She brought a notebook to take notes. She is real serious about this which is surprising to me. As I had stated before, our relationship was on the rocks before this all started. I had even questioned if this commitment was worth it considering her indiscretions in the past.

He comes into the room and begins to go over everything that is known at this time. He said that it appears that this was caught early enough that this can be eradicated. He pours over the images from the ultrasound. He says with what he sees at the moment that he would go in, remove the cancerous tissues, then order radiation therapy for that area to make sure I am cancer free. He goes over the pathology reports and back to the images again. He is not happy with some of the things that he sees in the images. He wants to get an MRI to see the area better.

He then goes on to explain some more about breast cancer. At this point, my head is spinning. I am only hearing a word here and there. My partner is glued to his every word. She is taking notes. After we leave, she tells me that advised her family and the father of her son. I was impressed but only slightly because I had a feeling this was only temporary. She thrives off of taking care of someone. She should have been a nurse.

Don’t Kill the Messenger

January 22, 2012

I still was agonizing over the indecision to tell my parents or not. I knew either way that it would be a difficult situation. My mother was my caregiver during the four months of recovery in my old room. She waited on me 24 hours a day. She helped bath me, feed me, empty my bed pan, deal with all the therapists coming in and out of her home, and went to every doctor’s appointment. A caregiver goes through everything the patient does in an emotional symbiosis. I finally make the decision to tell them after going and getting a haircut. I thought about it long and hard and I just needed to get it over with. Once done with the haircut, I call home. My father answers and ask him if they will be home because I need to tell them something. He told me that they will home but warns me that my mother isn’t in the greatest moods. I tell him that it is very important. He says that he will have my back and to come on over. The 5 minute drive seemed like an eternity. My heart is pounding harder and harder. I must remain strong to deliver the most horrible news that a daughter can give her parents. Coming out to my mother was more a confirmation of what was already known. This is going to be the worst thing to do. I know that it is going to send them into a whirlwind of emotions. I swallow my fear and tell myself to remain strong. If I am strong, then hopefully, my mother will remain somewhat strong. I pull into the driveway and take a deep breath. I tell myself, “Here we go. You can do this.” I head inside the house.

Once inside, I am immediately bombarded by my mother with, “If it is bad news, I am telling you right now, I do not want to hear it.” Talk about a knife in my heart. I could feel tears coming and tried to keep them down. I kept trying to interrupt her tyriad of bringing up all my mistakes (whether they were truly mine or not). My father stood up and yelled, “Sit down, shut up, and let her say it.” She refused to sit down saying, “She has probably done something stupid and needs bailed out with money or something.” I look to my father and he nods. I think this wasn’t the delivery that I wanted but here it goes. I take a deep breath and say loudly enough to be heard, “I have breast cancer!” She stops ranting and begins immediately crying. She collapses into the recliner and screams, “No!” She gets up and hugs me tightly not letting go. I can’t control the tears and begin crying myself. My father is silently crying as well. She sobs, “You just can’t! I can’t do this.” I hug her tightly and lead her over to the recliner so she can sit down.

I explain the whole situation and add in that we are still in the testing phase so no procedures or outcomes are known yet. My mom says, “I knew you weren’t right at Christmas”. My mother had done a memory lane type gag gifts for me which was hard to swallow at that point. With each gift my trying to maintain my normal self was whittled away. Little did she know what was ahead when she did that. I stayed there for awhile and we just talked.

 

The Day My Life Changed…again

January 17-20, 2012

It is biopsy day. My partner goes with me and we both are full of raw emotions due the intensity of the situation. The actual procedure itself isn’t bad. I had have many other procedures with my leg and shoulder injuries that a needle being stuck into my isn’t that bad. The taking of the samples was okay but some of the samples were just outside the area that was numbed so that wasn’t too pleasant. I was told that it would be Friday when the results would be back. Three days seemed like an eternity. I went back home and took some pain pills and took a nap. I go back to work the next day and pour myself into that work to keep my mind off the impending results. It is result day. I was working hard trying not to pay attention to the time or anything else but my work. I was leaving early that day to go see my primary doctor later that afternoon. My cell phone rings and it the radiologist doctor that did the biopsy. Unfortunately, I was with a customer and all that know me well, know I work with someone that can’t and won’t cover when needed. He left a voice mail. I listened to it and he didn’t sound good at all. I called my partner and she said that she would call and find out the results for me. Only a few minutes go by in reality until she called back but they felt like an eternity. I could feel my heart beating hard and fast. I was very nervous and anxious. She calls back and when I answer, she doesn’t respond. I say hello again thinking maybe she didn’t hear me. She is real slow is saying hello to me. I get a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I ask her if she got ahold of the doctor. She says yes. I am about to crawl through the phone wanting an answer. I stand up from my desk chair. She begins crying saying, “It is breast cancer, baby.” I stop breathing in that second. I collapse back into my chair. I do not want to believe what I heard. So I swallow the oncoming tears and ask her to repeat it. She says,
“Baby, you have cancer.” The salty tears stream down my face. I swell with anger inside. Cancer is such a horrible word and feels like a death sentence.

She talks through her tears and said, “Baby, I am going to get on the phone and find you the best breast oncologist around. Come home now and we will go to your doctor together.” I head home. The drive is surreal. I only make it a few miles down the road. I needed to talk with my little sister, Amy. I get ahold of her and advise her of the bad news. I felt so lost and confused. Amy settles me down and sets me in the right direction. She advises me that we get through this together as a family. I am torn between telling my parents yet. Amy has been around my Mom more. She advises to wait until a plan is in place because she will have a million questions which I do not have answers yet. She has to get back to working so I still am not quite all the way home. I put “Chasing Cars” on my CD and play it over and over again. I make it home and into my partner’s home. She embraces me and we hold each other for a few moments. She advises that she got me an appointment with a highly recommended comprehensive breast cancer specialist for January 31st. We also discuss the situation as to me telling my parents or not. She agreed with Amy’s thoughts (not that I told her that I discussed that with Amy since I knew of her jealousy issues) about my Mom having a million questions and I needed to be armed with the answers.

She drives me to my primary doctor. We fill the physician’s assistant in on the bad news. She is floored by the news. She has her own bad news to deliver about my recent blood work. My cholesterol was really high. My liver showed abnormalities. She got an ultrasound of the liver scheduled for the next morning due to the fact that I could not be placed onto a cholesterol medication until the liver was checked. We talk about diet changes that have to be made. We leave their and get on with the day. My partner was dog sitting. She heads down to take care of that. I take care of feeding the animals around our two places. I head down to meet her. We head to dinner. We are both in a fog. I remain calm through dinner. We head back to the condo where she is dog sitting, I break down crying. She pledges to be her for me. She said my only job from then on was to get better. She would handle the rest.

I left there later and we went back home. I had a hard time sleeping. My mind was racing uncontrollably. I go to my ultrasound appointment and get the same ultrasound tech that I had during the biopsy. I tell her about the results. She is floored. She thought for sure that the area looked like fibroids. She takes a moment and goes and looks at the film again. She comes back still floored. We talk about Dr. Blumencranz, the breast cancer specialist, which she was familiar with. She said he is the best of the best. I felt some relief but was still very scared. I had a very long road ahead of me. It seemed so dark and dreary at this point. I had a lot of unknowns to deal with. But I knew I had to be strong like I was before after my accident. I had faith that my strength would get me through.