Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cancer and Boobies and Needles - Oh My!

Half of my surgery pathology report was in last Tuesday when I met with Dr. McGreatness. There was only good news this time around (Can I get a hells YES!!?) ... Instead of two tumours and a benign adenoma, they discovered that there was only one tumour and an adenoma (adenomas are basically non-cancerous tumours). The single cancerous bastard measured 2.8 cm...slightly smaller than what they picked up on the MRI. All margins were clear meaning that they got it all. I had hoped and figured this would be the result... having a full mastectomy like I did gives you a higher likelihood of having your margins clear. They took all I got! And in doing this it saves me from ever having it return on that one side.

Amen to that.

The other half of the report consists of more tests to each individual lymph node that was dissected. Ewww. We still don't know how many they actually took but should know by Tuesday of this week. What Dr. McGreatness did say though was that they had tested five nodes so far and they were all clear. We know one for sure was positive though from the MRI, the node biopsy and then subsequent full axillary node dissection during surgery. Either way, however many end up being positive, the fact is that it was all removed and so technically, as I mentioned before, I am now cancer-free.

But they still bloody fricking well have to do chemo, radiation and estrogen suppressive drugs etc etc. As my oncologist said, if I don't do the chemo there is a higher than 50% chance of it returning or still being dormant close by or elsewhere...stray cells...blah blah blah...whatever. Fine!! I'm doing the f-ing chemo. Start date on that is still up in the air as my plastic surgeon wants to ensure that my boobs are full healed beforehand.

On that note, the boobs are doing great for the most part. Although my left one is a bit mal-formed and feels like it has been encased in cement and I get shooting lightning bolt pains in the other one, things are doing ok down there. I have peeked now... not face on in the mirror yet but I did have a gander looking down and for the most part am ok with what I see. I wear paper tape on the incisions still (and for 3 more months) to minimize scaring but all of the stitches have been removed. That experience was not as bad as anticipated. I couldn't feel it on the left side as the whole area is numb and I only gritted my teeth a bit when the right one had the stitches snipped and pulled.

As for my movement in my arm, I am still struggling a bit with that. I have better range than a week ago which is good but I am still a few weeks away before I will be allowed to try to go further. Dr. VanAwesome was very strict about not wanting me to do any physio with anyone yet until the internal stitches have dissolved and my tissue and muscle has fused with the alloderm. Fancy stuff that alloderm's like a hammock holding the implant in place and weaves within my own tissue. It is not used as often for breast reconstructions and therefore I am very fortunate to have it. The alternative would have been having tissue expanders...a temporary implant that would stretch things over time before doing the final implant surgery. I hear this is very painful and I feel super super grateful that I was a candidate for the immediate reconstruction with alloderm. It is also better for when they do radiation as it apparently protects the implant.

I am still getting used to the idea that I have a fakey boob. It is strange and I often forget when I try to roll on my side at night... ouch. Sometimes I can't believe where I am at... that surgery is done and that whole chapter has passed. I forget what a crazy roller coaster ride I am on and if I really think about what I have actually been through I get a little down.

This is some surreal shit I tell ya.

Moving right along...the in vitro fertility process to freeze our future children is underway! I went in for my first blood test and internal ultra sound last Thursday... the nurse said everything was on track and to begin the injections Friday evening. Those are a blast!! Not. My Mum has been the chosen one to do the shots for me since she has been in the city with me this whole time taking me back and forth to the clinic. Mike learned how to do the injections too but we had to put him back to work so he has been on the Coast to make some dough.

If there is one thing I have gotten used to from having cancer, it is getting poked with lots of needles. Lucky for me I am not scared of needles... I look away and wince if it stings but it is over in 10 seconds and then I am sent on my way. But one of the fertility drug shots stings like a bitch! I mean, it f-ing hurts. The shots go into my tummy within 1 inch around the navel and having someone other than a nurse inject you makes the experience totally different. There's a lot of "wait, not yet" moments and..."ok go! no wait, hold on!" mini panics and...."don't do it! im not ready!" yelps...My poor Mum is a good sport... and I guess so am I...Why now would I start being a baby about it? I have had worse done to me up to this point! So even when it stings and throbs like the dickens I do my best not to say mean things to my Mum. I have to pretend she is a nurse... because really, who swears and says assholic things to a real nurse when getting a needle shot into them? These injections are not my favourite 6 pm thing to do each day, but by March 6 - 8 the in vitro process will be done and Mikey and I will have little itty bitty embryos preserved.

Craziness. Lots of craziness...

I think being away from home, my own bed and Mike has probably been one of the more annoying things about the last few weeks... and the upcoming weeks. I wish for some kind of normalcy to my schedule and can't wait to be settled back at home more frequently without always having to unpack and repack a bag. Staying with my Mamka (That's Grandma in Slovak) has been awesome though. She is so sweet, caring and kind and she had her own breast cancer ordeal ten years ago. It helps me to be optimistic when I hear her share her chemo experience. She's a tough lady and when I remind myself how she got through it I know I will too.

Having to be city-tied for awhile, I will admit, has made me a bit bitchy lately (ok, A LOT bitchy)... and I will assume also that these fertility drug injections are not helping this either (my excuse). I am angry lately... frustrated with trivial things like poor drivers, inconsiderate people and more serious, but negative, stories I hear from others as well as what is on the news. I heard one case recently about someone who took their own life in the last month and I was absolutely infuriated and just down right sick to my stomach about it.

I can't begin to get deep into these topics as I know it isn't healthy (or smart) to be venting about such things ON THE INTERNET (especially)... but I will say this... Dealing with cancer makes you hyper emotional and kicks you so hard in the ass you f-ing want to do a total re-vamp/over-haul make-over on your life and not let anything or anyone enter your zen-like bubble of bliss and peace.

I still get irritated when someone cuts us off on the highway or a stranger elbows me on the street by accident... I still get mad that someone forgot to buy more cereal or I that can't find a certain piece of clothing that I want to wear... but the big picture things... like what people worry about, who and what we waste our energy on... things we do that we dislike but continue to do anyway... those bigger things are looked at in a completely different way. Yes, I am more sensitive to hearing other people's stories and experiences after having faced something like cancer... and it is because I see things in a different light. I don't want to see people sad or unhappy with what they have chosen... I don't want to see wasted opportunities and endless complaining. I wish we could all just do what we want. I just want what is best for me and everyone around me. I just wish everyone could be happy.

Holy emo-breakdown Batman!

I clearly have many thoughts bouncing around in my brain right now and I could totally dive right into a series of subjects that are boiling in there but I unfortunately have a ferry to catch in 1 hour...So I must run and do that before I go on a long rant about crap-food consumption or the high prices of a good sports bra...and then miss the boat completely!

Peace out y'all!


  1. We were so excited to hear some of the awesome results from pathology!!!! that is a reason alone to say Amen, thank you Lord!!!! We have been praying for you at home, at homegroup and with the family!...God wants you to walk away from all of this healed and certain of his healing powers...I believe everytime you get great news about less cancer, etc it is God shocking you! - He is healing you!!! I am so excited to hear doctors say, "I don't know" over and over the positive way that is!!! Not knowing how you could be healed so quickly and how there is no more cancer in your body!!!!

    I know Tanny is coming your way after school today - so I am sending a big hug with her to you! If you need anything just let me know!!!! I have days off so can help as much as you need or want!!! love you sweetie!!!!

  2. amen and hallelujah to your ranting at the end lol :) I must say when we get caught up in the things of life it is so hard to just do what we want and be happy, but we need to slow down, breath, and enjoy every moment in life - agreed!!

    so....about all your results and your wonderful healing - copy Avin on that ;) You have a powerhouse team of people praying for you and no doubt that God's doing some great work in your healing. You are working hard to keep yourself healthy and have a team here backing you, and we are super confident that this cancer has had itself kicked into oblivion faster than it knew what was happening to it :)

    love you like crazy,
    xxxx T

  3. I was told that chemo and hormone therapy each improved by 5%