Got the call from Dr. Z last night to tell me that yes, the new lump is cancer too, in the armpit it's also cancer, and the original site is indeed Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, all of it grade 3, which means the most aggressive type. Other tests that get more into its genetic and hormonal personality (so to speak) are pending. PET scan is on the horizon, and maybe CT and bone scans as well, if the insurance companies insist on these being done before the PET scan will be approved.
Poor J~ looks distraught. I think he had his hopes up for better news. I, on the other hand, expected nothing less, though I had conveniently forgotten the grade 3 business, which was already on the table with the first biopsy.
We don't have all the information to formally "stage" the cancer, but according to Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book , by a measure of tumor size and count of involved lymph nodes alone, assuming things are just slightly worse than we've gathered so far, my chances of being alive five years might not be a whole lot better than a flip of the coin.
I'm not freaked out by this.
Okay, I'll admit it, I am a little freaked out by this. I didn't sleep much last night. But I know statistics only paint the broadest picture. I am my own individual case and that's all there is to it. Even so, the words going through my mind today are these: My life is on the line.
So yes, it sucks, and yes, it's stressful, and boy do I hate what it's putting my loved ones through. But dammit —I know this will sound strange — it's also kind of exciting. It's an adventure like none other and I embrace that aspect completely. I have never been so thoroughly conscious of the preciousness of my life, my relationships, and my strength. I'm not letting any of it go to waste.