Today marks 5 full days since my cancer diagnosis was delivered to me. In those 5 days, I swear I could fit a lifetime. So much to learn, so much to do, so much to absorb. This weekend marks absolutely NO social engagements and temperatures approaching -30, not factoring in wind chill. So I am determined to take the time to focus on becoming more educated, more prepared, and more organized before next Tuesday.
Next Tuesday is the day I get the decision made by the tumor board; yes, the hospital has a tumor board that meets every Monday to review cases and determine the best treatment plan for each. They will have my MRI results by then, and will have a better understanding of whether or not the cancer has spread into my lymph nodes yet or not. If not, then I stay at a Stage II level. If it has, then I am Stage III or IV, depending on the level of invasion.
While undergoing the MRI yesterday, I had to laugh. I was on my stomach with boobs dangling, pressed between plates to keep them from moving round during imaging. I felt like a milk cow! LOL. They offered me headphones, and I insisted they tune the radio station to 94.5 so I could hear Ron on air. They said that channel did not come in (they are located in the basement), I said try, anyway. They were wrong. So I got to share the humbling experience with my beloved from a distance. 🙂
I had no idea there were so many things to consider when facing cancer treatments. Monday I am registered to attend a “Look Good, Feel Better” class at the hospital where they will give me several hundred dollars of makeup for free, and teach me how to apply makeup once all my eyelashes and eyebrows are gone. I mean, mascara?? How?? Creative eye liner I imagine, or some alternative. They will also teach us how to use and wear scarves and head wraps, doo rags, etc., and I get a coupon for a free wig! I am taking Ron with me when I pick one, it will be the only opportunity he will get to “pick a new wife” so to speak, and will be fun and memorable event and not a dreadful, tear-filled experience.
I have to keep a “Chemo Diary” to track every little thing following the treatments. If I follow the standard protocol, a lot of REALLY personal stuff is going into that journal! I will keep some of those details to myself, and only share publicly the information that I think others would want to know. However, it looks like I have nausea, hot flashes, itchiness, dry mouth and possible mouth sores, and other wonderful afflictions to look forward to.
There are so many alternative treatment options, too. These herbs, this oil, this capsule, this diet, immunotherapy, etc. I really love all the support and feedback I am getting from all my friends, but I am a bit overwhelmed, to say the least. I received an amazing crystal pendant from my friend Kate, and will keep it on during this journey. I believe in the power of the earth. I liked the idea of immunotherapy, however those are alternative measures to treat the presence of the HER2 receptor and, lucky for me, I don’t have that! I am positive for Estrogen and Progesterone as well and that, too, is a best case scenario. So I am walking the fence. I will move forward with the chemo, as my tumor is a Grade IV; meaning it is growing rapidly, and I have improved my overall diet. Alkaline, alkaline, alkaline! Although I cannot promise there will not be ice cream or frozen yogurt in my future if/when that dry and sore mouth and throat happen.
I am in good spirits, overall. I choose to stress over things I can change and right now that involves being prepared for the onset of chemo. It could start as early as next week. I will have a better idea on Tuesday. All the other things will be worried about and prepared for in due time. I am a cancer patient for a while and will come out of this a cancer survivor. Cancer victim? NEVER.