May 13, 2012
Today is Mother’s Day. I have never felt so much love from my family on Mothers Day as today. Maybe because the pathology report was not the best as we were praying for. Maybe it’s just because I AM a great mother 🙂 Whichever the reason, it doesn’t matter, I taking all the love I can get today! Homemade omelet served by my husband with fresh fruit and OJ. Movie matinée midday if I’m strong enough and hopefully I will be able to attend mass tonight. Flowers from my daughter in AZ and the love of friends and family walking to fight breast cancer! Love embracing me all day today!
Now for reality…pathology report was the hot topic of conversation last thursday for the interdisciplinary conference at the University of Chicago Hospital. The tumor in the breast was larger than expected: 8.5 cm x 6.1 cm x 4.7 cm. Sounds like a trophy size, maybe I should have asked for a picture? The trophy is that it is not longer a weight on my chest and it is OUT.
They removed 33 lymph nodes from my left underarm and side. I honestly did not even know a person had that many lymph nodes one side. I guess I was thinking about 7-10. They saw only two that appeared abnormal, but 18 have tumors. When Dr. Jaskowiak said “tumors”, it sounded much more cryptic than “abnormal”. It took me back.
I thought, why am I always receiving this news over the phone and alone. But that’s God’s plan, so I accept it and grab for paper and a pen.
33 lymph nodes removed – 18 had tumors. Scribbles, noted, ask questions Janet…
“So what stage am I at post-op?”
“You are now categorized: T3, N3, M0 – Stage 3C. Herceptin and radiation will be effective to HER2 positive receptors”
I don’t understand what that all means, but I write it down and figure I can understand later.
I need the right medical terminology to be able to understand it later. Write it down correctly Janet.
“Where would it travel to next?”
“Great question” But I don’t want to be asking these questions, but I know I have to. “The next basin is usually first the mediastinal nodes between the chest that they do not do surgery to remove, so chemo and radiation will attack them. The other area would be the lymph nodes near the left clavicle area. So we will concentrate chemo and radiation on that area also.”
I am thinking chemo and radiate my whole body – get rid of it everywhere!
Doctor tells me “All margins were clear.” All five of the oncologist at the conference were encouraged by the report.
So I guess I’m encouraged too. Even with the bad news there is good news – I will beat this horrific disease – even if it doesn’t seem that today. Tomorrow will be better. I am confident in that fact.
She suggests that I meet with the Medical Oncologist the week after next to talk about starting Chemo in June. Of the five at U of C, she recommends Dr. Phillip Hoffman. He is also a hematologist, which would be helpful since I have a blood mutation that increases my risk of blood clots. The interdisciplinary conference is suggesting AC TH herceptin chemotherapy. I’ll learn more about those initial through online research I’m sure. I want to meet with Dr. Hoffman with questions about the drug and treatment I will be facing.
Finally, Dr. Jaskowiak explains that the numbness I am feeling in my arm, may go away, but may be permanent. I will be researching if there is anything I can do to help my nerves heal, prayers for healing now include nerves as well.
I walk out into my kitchen, completely numb, and join my sister, niece, son, mother, brother and sister-in-law and choke out the news about the tumors. The amazing turkey meatballs and pasta my sister-in-law made was delicious yet I did not taste anything.
Somebody make me laugh…I need laughter. Kevin arrived home from work at 7:45 pm, the first time this week before 8:00 pm and was I glad to fall into his arms.
Next year’s Mother’s Day will be completely different.
Grace embraced: The grace of knowing what the final pathology report in. Good or bad news, I need the truth and together we can face any truth that lays in my path. I plan on jumping right over the crappy stuff that is in my way and getting to the finish line arm in arm with Christ! Happy Mothers Day!