Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Leaps and Bounds

Random disjointed musings from a recently diagnosed cancer "survivor":

Did you know that you're considered a cancer survivor as soon as you're diagnosed? So far I've been a survivor for five days. So far so good!

Of course cancer sucks in every possible way, but still, it seems an amazing privilege to be confronted so intensely with one's own mortality. I can no longer shy away from the important things in life.

Thanks to all the delurkers (and everyone else) for your comments of support.

To anyone who knows me personally and happened upon this blog in a web-surfing expedition: you don't have to pretend you don't know or don't read. It's not, nothing here, is a secret.

I talked to my Dad on the phone last night, to find out how he's doing with this. "It's funny," he told me, "I'm perfectly fine until someone asks me how I'm doing."

"So Dad," I replied, "How are you doing?"

"That's not fair!" he said, and the feelings were at the surface.

If you know me you know that I believe it's much better to feel things than stuff the feelings down. The act of feeling, emoting, is the very work needed to make room for a fresh perspective.

I've been doing a ton of it myself and it helps it helps it helps.

I need to figure out what doctor(s) I'm going to work with. I've been stressed out about this. Asking around, I keep hearing about Dr. Z, a female surgeon heading a breast health center about an hour from me. She's very much in demand, I was told, it might be hard to get an appointment with her. I made a call and found out her breast health center is not currently taking new patients. I was able to make an appointment with Dr. Z for today, however in a different office, a little further away.

Meanwhile, in a parallel and separate universe, my older brother J~ was doing his own research and heard about Dr. Z from M~, his best friend from the house next door to us growing up, my own beloved favorite babysitter, who it turns out, works as a physician's assistant in the same hospital with Dr. Z. This friend, knowing how Z is and not knowing I already had an appointment, talked to her about me, said I was practically his sister, and she told him to have me call her directly to make sure I got an appointment.

I spoke to M~ yesterday and he was incredible. He assured me that Dr. Z is "better than advertised", that once I'm in with her anywhere, I'll have the access I need to the breast health center's labs and doctors, that he will make sure I don't get lost in the shuffle, that the fact that I didn't truly become conscious about the lump right away was normal, and that he will call me tomorrow after my appointment and not to worry, I'm in very good hands. He also said that he burst into tears himself when he heard the news from my brother. Of course I was crying too hard to speak and am again crying now thinking about this. Can you imagine hearing all this from a man you adored and as a child, who wrestled with you and your little brothers and cared for you so sweetly when he was just a teenager?

So much more to say.


Shannon said...

Wow, Amy- you sound so in touch with yourself, and so ready & accepting for transformation. I'm so glad for your support and excellent doctor. How is J~ (husband) doing?

If you can, spend some time planting bulbs of your favorite flowers, spread seeds before the frost. Weave your hopes & wishes into the soil...picture who you will be, what you will be doing, in the Spring when the flowers emerge. (The Native American in me). I'll be thinking of you.

justine said...

This is such a powerful ... empowered ... post ... I'm glad that you found a good doctor, and it sounds like you're taking charge, to the extent you can. Thinking of you.

Miss Ruby said...

I am so sorry to read of your diagnosis BUT you sound super positive and honestly that will go a long way in helping you to overcome this hurdle that has been placed in your way.

You CAN beat this, you WILL beat this.

And for the record, I totally get what your Dad said re people asking him how he is!


Searching said...

Congrats of 5 days of survivorhood! Sending you all the positive vibes I can. Hang in there and seems like you are in the best hands already.

Paula said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your diagnosis and all of its scary unknowns. You've faced challenges before, and you bring a sense of clarity and purpose to your work, which is now, at least in part, healing.

I'm sorry you're going through this, especially considering how much you don't care for the medical establishment. But this is different.

I know many breast cancer survivors from all stages of the disease, and you're right to put the focus on being a newly diagnoses survivor.

Let us know how you are doing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Roccie said...

Never a death sentence.

I am not a survivor but I work at a treatment center and I see people telling fabulous win stories all the time.

All the time.

Heather said...

Stopping by from LFCA. I'm so sorry about your diagnosis. I can't even imagine what you must be feeling right now. I'm glad you have an appointment with what sounds like a fantastic doctor and that you have a fantasic support system.

Keeping you in my thoughts. Take care.

Keiko said...

I came here via LFCA and I must say, for everything you've been through in the last week, I admire your raw bravery. Sending you lots of strength and support.

~Keiko, Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your diagnosis.
I know its probably going to be hard to stay positive but it's really important.

As you well know making informed decisions about your options is so important.

My mum was treated for breast cancer which was stage 2.. she had radiation and not chemo (bad choice 1) and then didn't take the medication they offered her (bad choice 2)
Apart from that all her tests were normal, she had 2 lump's removed and a tone of limp nodes that were negative. After recieving the 5 year all clear she was diagnosed with multiple matatiszed brain tumors and she died a year later.
I think about her choices all the time.. I have no idea why she made these choices.. she didn't share them with us until it was 2 late..

On the other hand my friends mum was diagnosed with stage 2.. she had lumps removed, chemo, radition, medication and she is now happily in remission.

I know you have a tone of choices.. but making sure that you have the right surgeon and oncologst is so important.

You can definatly beat this. SO many people do.

I so wish you all the best, I just wanted to share the two stories with you.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for a swift and full recovery. I just attended a breast cancer benefit last night and my mom has been cancer free for 2 years now.

babyinterrupted said...

Here from LFCA - just to offer support and encouragement. I'll be thinking of you.

Journeywoman said...

Here from the LFCA.

I'm thinking good thoughts for you!

Aliza at Babyfruit said...

I have been somewhere else in my own little world & just received an email from one of our "sisters in blog" giving me a heads up. Hang in there, do whatever it takes, know you are not alone, scream if you need to, smile if that feels better. You are an awesome human being. We're with you.

Kelly said...

Amy, I just discovered your blog from LFCA. I'm inspired by you...your words and your courage.

Cindy said...

Stumbled upon your blog tonight...sending you lots of prayers as you begin this scary journey.