Friday, March 8, 2013
The Tests Are Done. The Grade is In!
I made it through the week of testing with a dot to dot pattern on my arm from needle pokes and a nap record like I haven't had since pregnancy days.
I have been learning a lot with this new diagnosis. For instance, I didn't know that breast cancer could spread to the lungs, liver, bones, and blood and because my cancer was in my teleporters (lymph nodes) the potential for it to spread to these other areas is higher.
The testing started Monday with the bone scan. This consisted of an injection of radio active isotopes. After receiving the injection. They have you wait for 3 hours then come back for the actual scan. The isotopes cling to your bones and highlight anything questionable or undesirable. The scan lasts for about 30-40 mins. All in all, it wasn't too bad and I even got to tell everyone I was radio active for a few days. Guess I can't keep using that line.
Wednesday was another full day. The morning appointment was with my favorite surgeon. He was anticipating doing another aspiration at this appointment. Upon further investigation of the surgery sites, he decided that it was unnecessary. Apparently all my couch assessments and attempts to see through my eyelids, paid off. Wednesday's score, minus two pokes for me.
Wednesday afternoon rolled around and it was cocktail hour at my place. You know the saying, "It's 5:o'clock some where" and this week it was at my house. Granted it was a Barium Sulfate cocktail and a four hour fast till a second delicious cocktail of the same. I tried to describe the interesting blend to my kids. This is the best I could conjure up. It is a strange blend of orange juice, 7-up, baby lotion and hospital hand cleaner. Throw in a bit of chalk and I think that is pretty darn close. After one more hour, it was time for the scans. These were CT scans that took all of 30 seconds and believe me when I say, you do not want to know the price tag. There are no words! Tears maybe, but no words. One scan was done with out the dye injection and then immediately following, they inject the contrast and do another scan. And if you're at all curious or interested in the strange warming affect the injection for this scan produces, you can pm me. I blush to even think about it. This scan would identify any cancer that had transported into my lungs or liver. I can't complain too much because I got to follow up that day with an amazing friend who feeds me Blizzards filled with cookie dough chunks and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Hello!!!
By themselves, these tests are really quite uneventful until you consider what they are looking for and the ramifications of any hot spots located. Once again, I had several opportunities to take my thoughts captive this week and focus on the master planner in my life. I realized that although I was able to do this, my kids may not be quite so confident in this area. I spent time with each of them this week discussing the possibilities. It was important for me to hear their heart feelings and how far down the road they have gone in their minds. I think it is very important to allow them to talk freely about everything we are experiencing and that's exactly what we did this week, even when it was hard and scary.
The final appointment for this week was this morning at 8:30 am. I stress the time because many of you are already feeling empathy pains for me knowing I am not a morning person. To that I say a sincere, Thank you. This appointment was to meet with my radiologist. He shared with me his intended plan of action, but also mentioned that I probably wouldn't be seeing him again for several months since I was doing chemo first. Ouch! So a little sneak peak at the length of the chemo time. That's okay. The beach is close. I can sleep it off there. Not to mention the fish will appreciate me chumming their waters. He also shared with me that because the cancer was in the teleporters it had demonstrated its' ability to transport into other areas. This is a problem.... Cue the Chemo. This reduces the likelihood of it coming back to 40%. Add in the golden rays of radiation and that rate drops to 5%. Now that is a number I can work with.
I have been anticipating a call back from my surgeon to inform me of the test results. The only call I received from him was to tell me it was okay to get in the hot tub. Instead, I would hear the information from the radiologist. It flew out so quickly, as if he thought I already knew. I had to double check to make sure I heard him correctly. He said all tests, bone scan, blood work, and major organ CT came back clear. No cancer in any off them. While I like to think that I would have been prepared for the other answer, I cannot tell you how grateful I was for these results. So while the next several months will be long, maybe discouraging, draining and trying, I know that "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars, he puts the deep into storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The Lord foils the plans of the nation; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.