Survivorship – Day 8

Saw the breast surgeon today to get MRI results and find out what’s next. The good news is that I have no lumps in my right breast or lymph nodes on the right. The news I didn’t love is that the lymph node on the left that is really enlarged is abutting a vein and she said I need chemo first before surgery.

(All this talk of breasts and abutting makes me think about Beavis and Butthead. Which gives me a momentary chuckle in this time of not so many chuckles.)

I guess I had grown attached to surgery first, then chemo. Instead she referred me to her partner oncologist, ordered head, chest, abdominal and pelvic cat scans to rule out tumors elsewhere, and also ordered a mediport.

A mediport is kind of like a heparin lock in your hand, only in this case it will go by my collar bone, just under the skin, into a vein. And stay there until l’m done with treatment. They can take blood out through it and put chemo into it. It leaves a bump. It’s obvious. It may seem like not a big thing to you, but to me it’s another thing that reinforces that I am now a lab rat.

So I’ll probably lose my hair. Vomit a lot. Have this mediport. Maybe swell or get really dry skin, or a rash. Lose a lot of weight. Of course the main side effect is that the tumors will shrink and I’ll have surgery and get this all behind me. I’d rather just run away and leave cancer somewhere else and then come back.

But, alas, I cannot run away from it. Every doctor visit, test, or phone conversation regarding scheduling or benefits just adds another of layer of reality of cancer. And when that layer goes on I go into a fog for a little while. My brain feels like saturated soil and any input sits on top, like water waiting to sink in until there is space for it to be received.

I have good moments, and not good moments. I would say overall I’m still pretty shocked and more depressed than not. But I do laugh sometimes. And I’ve cried a lot. And every day I learn more about myself and the capacity for others to love me, which feels good.

Please keep praying. It’s helping!

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