There are lots of things going on, so here is the point-form version:
First, the things you probably want to know:
– We got the pathology report back. And it is good. Real good. A small tumor, about 4mm was found in the left breast tissue. An even smaller tumor (less than 2mm) was removed from the lymph nodes on the left side. Given that the tumor in the left breast seemed to be about 15cm when I started chemo, that is an amazing result. But, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed (aka I cried a little) that even a small amount of cancer was found in the lymph node. The CT scans had suggested that they looked clear, so when I heard that news, it made me feel a bit disappointed and a little nervous about the tumors that were in the neck area (because they also appeared to look “clean” in the CT.) But I suppose that’s why we’re doing radiation – it’ll clean up any tiny bits left lurking around. No cancer was found in the right breast tissue (no surprise there, but happy to have that confirmed.) Bottom line, the cancer in the left breast and lymph node under the arm have successfully been removed! Amazing.
– Next steps: radiation therapy. I have a CT scan today that will help to plan out the exact area that will receive radiation. Because the cancer is on the left side, I will have to use a special breathing device during radiation to minimize exposure to my heart. At this point it looks like radiation will be 5 days a week for about 5 weeks.
– The pain is much, much better. I was even able to pick Nate up this week! I am still sore, but am mostly off the pain medications. And my energy levels are good.
Second, the things you might want to know:
– My hair is growing back. Yes! But, it is growing back very gray. So, thank you cancer for making me feel old. This weekend, with the help of my talented sister, I gently dyed the tiny bits of hair on my head. I’ve ventured out without the wig now, and feel okay about it. With the hot flashes (a lingering side effect of the chemo), I get too uncomfortable with the wig (think Samantha in Sex and the City giving that speech – “I said inspirational, not perspirational”), so as the weather warms up, I’ll be wearing the wig less and less.
– I am getting used to my new body. But, let me tell you, it is weird. Every day is an exercise in layering my clothes to camouflage the strange absence of breasts. I am supposed to wait about 6 weeks before going for a proper post-mastectomy prosthetic/bra fitting, so until then I am experimenting with all sorts of scarves, wraps and ruffles. Reconstructive surgery will have to wait at least 6 – 8 months after radiation (and I haven’t even decided definitively about this yet).
Third, the things you probably don’t care much about, but that I will share with you anyway.
– I really like Mindy Kaling. I read her book (thanks, Kari!), and watch her show, and she makes me laugh a lot. I’m pretty sure we would be friends if we met before she got famous.
– I went for gelato with my sister and it turns out that I don’t love gelato. I know, I am an enigma. Sorbet, though, I like. Go figure.