Thursday, November 04, 2010

Welcome to Cancerville

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.


Kelly said...

I love your attitude and outlook, considering what you're coping with. I admire your strength and courage. (((HUGS)))

Please keep us updated, when you are able, about testing and treatment.

You and your family are in my thoughts.

Tash said...

I am so sorry. I don't know how to send thoughts of comfort, or ease anything - or indeed even if you want any easing. I can only say that I think about you all the time, I find it popping into my head and I try to send goodness your way.

It really hits home how fragile life is, and yet you're so upbeat. You have a font of courage, you are a courageous woman, you have been through the trials and tribulations of infertility and come out the other side, still as pragmatic as ever. You will be alive in five years' time. Honestly, I am sure of it. I am no doctor, but I have hope. My "real life" friend has just gone in to hospital having found a lump, she's waiting to find out what it is too.

I can't do much from England, I wish I could, but should you need anything. A rant, a screaming session or even just to know that someone else is thinking of you often, I'm here.

As for music, when I'm down I want to wallow. So I listen to the saddest things I can imagine. But you don't need that - you need uplifting. Of late, to de-stress me, and to make me happier, I've been turning to a lot of classical music.

There is one song in particular that makes me beam. Vaughan Williams' "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" - it's a piece of classical music, inordinately beautiful, the swells and crescendos are breathtaking. It is hopeful, beautiful music.

Each time I think of a song, I'll comment. If you want, I can email the MP3s to you, too.

Take care and look after yourself x

Daniele said...

You are a-ma-zing. Not that we didn't know this before cancer came onto the scene. But it has to be said, and repeated. I have so much respect for you and how you handle this. That's not to say I would blame you if you handled it differently.
Thinking of you often and sending love and hugs your way.

Anonymous said...

Hold on to that feeling - put it in the bank for when you're having a tough day. know that many people love and and support you and you can always come here to vent. Stay strong.

claire said...

have you considered reading the Budwig Diet? It's by a german bio...something. I definitely encourage you to read it!!

Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

Having information sometimes--even if it's not the most positive--can be a relief--just a relief to *know." Versus waiting and wondering--this is the worst-- anxiety can eat you up.

Keep writing, keep feeling everything like you have been. You are amazing.

Paula said...

I'm sorry that you're facing something so serious, but you have the strength to fight it. You are not a statistic but a person.

I realized that life was fragile at the tender age of nine when my father died unexpectedly. None of us knows how much time we have, but you're right that we can always do our best to live life fully. I have no doubt you will for years to come.

If there's anything that those of us on the Internet can do for you, let us know. We are here for you.

Anonymous said...

Attitude is everything, and yours is incredible. You are strong and brave, you are yourself.

My BFF is a 10+ year survivor of one cancer, and a 10 year post diagnosis of a second cancer. He was told he had 1 year to get his life in order. His attitude I believe, and so does he, is what kept him going. (His soon to be ex, well. . . ) Despite it all, he's been positive, strong and did whatever it took to take care of himself. Currently he's at stage 3 of his second cancer, but I know he'll fight it every step of the way with grace and strength.

I see the same in you. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Amy, I am so with you in your thinking. It is why I cherish joy so much, and why I want to live my dying rather than just go quietly in my sleep. For you, all your family is running beside you to share in your victory, and I cheer you on, knowing just what you mean about the adventure and your concern for everyone else as well. Do live every moment, and I am already picturing you in your special running outfit. I am going to walk that half marathon next year when you run it again. Great love to you. Mom

Nancy said...

I am completely in awe of your honesty and courage. I want to be you when I grow up. speechless, breathless and in amazement of how epic you are... wow

Shannon said...

Your spirit is amazing, Amy. I am in awe of and inspired by your strength and courage. In every situation, there are gifts and how incredible that you are discovering them even in the midst of all that is still uknown? Thinking of you often.

Anonymous said...

What KittyCorraler said. Hold onto that.

And I'm so sorry about all of this. I'm also a little bit excited for you, too, in the ways you are excited.

You live everything so well.

Anonymous said...

I must say that I absolutely loved your last paragraph. What you wrote is so true and inspiring.
Wish you the very best of luck.

Jamie said...

I'm sorry to hear the unfolding news as you face breast cancer. But I do admire last of your words in this post. Hold on to what is important and dear to you as you move forward.