Yet one more week has passed in a Tazmanian Devil manner. I find this blog is helping me in more ways than I originally realized, as it is helping me keep track of everything all the appointments, tests, procedures, etc. I was able to get some answers to the questions I ended the last post with, and I am satisfied.
The reason for chemo when the cancer is contained in one area is because cancer is not visible until around 1 BILLION cells have grouped together. So if there a a small gang of, say, 250,000,000 cancer cells hanging out in your body, even the most sophisticated of technologies will NOT see them. The chemo kills them before they are even visible. My follow up question was, if chemo kills all cancer cells, why does it come back in certain patients? Because cancer is smart and it mutates in order to survive and will lie in wait until it has enough cells to develop a strong enough “gang” to start rampaging once again. Chemo reduces, in breast cancer patients, the recurrence of cancer in the future by about 50%. I am a numbers girl, so I understand that and am happy moving forward.
The first question is now irrelevant to me, as the biopsy I had yesterday shows the cancer has spread to my lymph nodes. This changes the diagnosis to a stage 3 cancer. Today’s PET/CT scan looked at my entire body to see if there are any other areas of concern, hopefully I will finally catch a break and the cancer is confined to these two areas. I will be having surgery to install the port-a-cath into my chest on Jan. 4, and chemo begins on Friday Jan. 6.
As a side note, I have to add here that the short term insurance I picked up September 1 after being laid off in August is trying to say this is a pre-existing condition, and is not wanting to pay the claims. I will let you know exactly how much 3 biopsies, an MRI, and a PET/CT scan costs, along with everything else once I get the bills. I may be paying these off for the next 3 lifetimes! I’m choosing to worry about other things now and trust the insurance will work itself out eventually.
This is a quick update of all the facts and none of the feelings behind all this. I will update again soon with that more tangled side of this ordeal. For tonight I plan to enjoy Christmas movies with the grand kids, conversation with my step daughter and her husband, and enjoy a beer with Mr. Keel. Maybe, when the day closes it eyes, so will I and just maybe tonight I will sleep.