Making Lemonade

It’s amazing how quickly the mind dumps its old standards for new ones when you’re dealing with cancer. When I started this whole deal, my very first thought was, “I’ve got to write down my recipes” because at that time I was just sure I was going to die. Then, as I became more educated, I wasn’t really worried about dying, but I *was* stressing about losing my hair. I said, “I hope it’s not actually cancer, because I really don’t think I can pull off the whole bald thing.” (I’m vain, I know) Then, when I found out it was indeed cancer I changed my tune yet again, “I can do lumpectomy, take chemo, be bald, do radiation…but I cannot handle having a mastectomy.”

As you guys know, I had surgery last Wednesday. Dr. Schmidt called Tuesday night while we were at Mini Me’s concert, so we missed his call. Wednesday, Tana, the nurse at Dr. Schmidt’s office who takes care of me, called and said that the doctor was in surgery but wanted her to call and let me know that the margins (from the original site) are involved. I asked about the other two spots he’d removed, but she didn’t know anything because he still had my chart. I set up an appointment for Thursday at 4:50 to talk to Dr Schmidt.

When she told me that, I knew he’d tell me it was time for a mastectomy on that left side. I spent Wednesday in shut-down mode, not really even wanting to talk to anyone about it. By today, I’d come to terms with the situation a little better, and mentally prepared myself to actually go hear the bad news. The drag of it, I thought (other than the obvious) was that I’d be having a major surgery that would seriously put a cramp in my summer fun. No swimming allowed when one has incisions and drainage tubes.

So, I went to the doctor tonight and found out that not only were the margins bad, but the other spot on the left was also cancer. Okay, guaranteed mastectomy. I knew that. The spot on the right is a “pre-cancer” area which increases the likihood that I’d have cancer there later. Great—now he’s going to want to take both sides, I thought. But, he said that he didn’t intend to go that route. Instead, he’s having me start chemo right away. No surgery for at least 3 months.

I was strangely happy about this—like I said, it’s amazing how quickly the mind dumps its old standards for new. First, I don’t have to have surgery right away, which is beneficial for a couple of reasons. A) I have plenty of time to decide how I want my reconstruction done and don’t have to make any rushed decisions, B) I won’t have those pesky incisions & drains to keep me from enjoying the summer—as much as a chemo patient can. Also, I get to keep my original body parts for a little longer. And, Mini Me is finishing up with school, so I won’t have to worry about that while my butt is dragging from chemo.

Keep the prayers coming. I’ll be meeting with an oncologist early next week, and will have to do some testing before treatment begins. Probably within two weeks I’ll be starting chemo.

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