To say that these last four days have been very stressful is an understatement. I feel like this detour is never going to end. I was hoping and praying for all of this to be over quickly. In my mind, I thought: chemo, surgery and then I live happily ever after. However, that is not the case. My journey isn’t that simple. It looks like it’s going to drag on for the next year.
I met with my surgeon, Dr. P, on Tuesday and I didn’t like everything I heard. I cried! I was informed that I will have to have radiation. The amount of radiation still hasn’t been determined. But it’s preventive and it’s the common practice when it comes to breast cancer. I will also have to have all the lymph nodes on my right side removed. I thought they would only have to remove that one lymph node that tested positive. I prayed that the chemo had made everything shrink. I am not sure how much people know about having your lymphnodes removed, but you can develop lymphedema, which causes swelling in your arm. I will have to wear a sleeve to help the fluid drain back into my body. I know cancer survivors who have to wear those sleeves and I know they are super annoying. I am a righty and I am not sure how much this will effect my lifestyle. I will have to take precautions with my right arm forever. Removing all of them could mean up to 21 nodes. The only reason I have to be okay with all of this, is because with the type of cancer I have they have to be aggressive or the cancer could return and spread to other lymph nodes.
The positive news is that my surgeon can save the skin and the nipples. The tumor is far enough away from the skin, which is good news because it should help the plastic surgeon with reconstruction. If Dr. P can save the sack then I won’t have to remove skin from other parts of my body to reconstruct the breasts. However, I met with the plastic surgeon on Thursday. I didn’t know that I would have to wait 6 months after radiation in order to put in the final implants. That just prolongs this whole journey, which made me so angry.
February 16th will be my bilateral mastectomy. Richard seems to be more excited then me because after that we are hoping the doctor can tell us “I am cancer free”. But in my eyes that’s still just one more step towards the finish line. There are still a lot of things to consider. The plastic surgeon suggested using my own tissue instead of getting implants. He said that implants can get hard and there is some maintainenece associated with that. Also after radiation the tissue gets damaged and the implant might not feel natural. But in order to use my own tissue he would have to cut the tissue from my back or my stomach. I really don’t feel like cutting up my body more then it has to be already. I don’t want more scars and I am thinking about the recovery time associated with all of this extra stuff. He said that the breast would feel more natural and it would last for the rest of my life. It is something to consider, but I don’t have to decide now. I have a good 6 months to think about it.
TODAY.……So now let us get to todays news. Richard took our dog Camila to the vet because she was limping. We thought she might have hurt her leg or was developing arthritis. My poor husband. God Bless him. He had no idea how to tell his wife, who has breast cancer, that now our dog of 6 years has a tumor. I can’t even make this stuff up. I don’t know who I wronged in my life. So now my dog and I have cancer. It seems surreal. I am living in a timewarp. Someone please wake me up from this insane nightmare. The vet couldn’t give us a timeframe or tell us what her life expectancy will be. He said the type of tumor she has is rare. We could take her to an oncologist and she could get radiation but what the hell. I don’t even want radiation. Why would I put her through that!!! We might have 6 more months with Camila or we might have a year. Everything is up in the air. Thank god she is not in any pain, but they did give us meds to control the nerves that are causing discomfort in her leg. The only thing that is comforting Richard and I is that we adopted Camila from the Humane Society and we have given her a great life. Since she is a PitBull we don’t know what type of life she would have had if we hadn’t adopted her. She was our first child. She is family. All we can do is make her comfortable and pray for the best. But how do I explain this to my kids? Leo is too young, but I can’t tell Sebastian that Camila is sick. That would terrify him, especially since mommy is already sick.
It’s weird because I swear Camila knew I was sick before I did. She was sleeping next to my side of the bed for months. I still can’t believe my baby girl is sick. I don’t think you have an be animal lover to understand how much this hurts. While I am doing everything to get better I have to watch a part of my family die. The other day Richard finally told me what all of this has been like for him. He said it’s like watching the person you love die. Essentially that is what the chemo is doing. It’s killing me while killing the cancer. So my poor husband has to now watch his wife and dog die a little everyday.
My god! I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s like being kicked in the face while I am already down. I am using ever fiber in my body to stay positive and to stay strong, but I am freaking exhausted. I have one more chemo to go… Everyone says Chemo is the hardest part of this journey, but I don’t think they have considered all the other emotions associated with all of this.
I am grateful I have a few things coming up that are giving me something to look forward. Soon, I will be having my girls weekend with my 3 oldest friends. Kio, Nichola and Alison I am grateful for you ladies. I also have our cousin Alex’s wedding in Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to escape for a few days. Our 8th wedding anniversary is coming up, but I will be recovering from surgery. So I will planning my “I Kicked Cancers Ass” Party.
9 thoughts on “This detour seems long…”
Oh baby, I am so sorry to hear about Camila. It brought back sad memories of having to put our Kirby to sleep. Maureen had to do it all by herself. I love her just as much if not more than you love Richard. They are truly 2 unique individuals.
The job of the Lymph nodes is to help the body circulate clear fluid. I am sure the one they removed was the “Centenal Lymph node” . If this one is positive then there is a good chance that some of the others have been infected as well. This is why they take them all out. Yes, you will need to be careful with your right arm, no needles, no shots or vaccines or there will be swelling. NO HEAVY LIFTING. That can really trigger it. And make sure they take your blood pressure on the left arm.
I find that if I get a bruise it takes a lot longer to heal. There are great and very simple massaging exercises you can do to reduce and even prevent the swelling. I have 2 sleeves, one for each arm, but only used them for a few weeks after surgery. I had 10 nodes removed from my left arm 17 yrs ago and have only had mild symptoms. One good thing is that Richard can have fun massaging you. LOL. There is also a great machine you can get ( not sure if the insurance will cover it) that massages the areas. Lymphedema can range from mild to severe. It has not been painful. It can depend on how well you take care of yourself. Breast reconstruction can be hard. If you use your own skin it is better but it is a much longer surgery. There will be drainage that you will need to deal with and something called “seroma’s”. These are pockets of clear fluid that can develop after a mastectomy. The radiation can help with that.
The process of radiation is not a painful one and it only takes a few minutes to administer. The prep time is longer and the hardest part is that you have to go everyday. It can be different for each person. It wiped me out physically. I did it right after work and went home and went right to bed. Use A LOT AQUAPHOR and ask the doctor for “Silver Sulfadiazine 1% cream. I took it with me and put it on in the dressing room right after each session. It made all the difference in the world the second time around. It will prevent your skin from peeling and developing blisters. They hurt like a mother fucker.
The reason you have to wait the 6 months is because radiation is like putting something in the microwave. Its still cooking long after you take it out.
The good thing is (there always has to be a “good thing”) that in a few months you will have lovely, perky new boobs that will probably stay perky for many years to come.
Sweetie, I can’t tell you I know how you are feeling because I don’t. I can only share with you my own experiences and hope that at least it will help a little. There is ALWAYS a rainbow after the storm. You are in the eye of the hurricane but it is a small category one and with Gods help and the love and support of those around you, you will prevail. I love you more that words can say and I send you lots of hugs, kisses and love.
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Aw Myra, what a post to take in! I am sorry for all of this and I am thinking of you almost every day. I know it’s been a long road but when you look at the big picture, this will be just a speck of what occurred in your life. Stay strong and look forward. I know you will be okay and that you will continue to kick butt and live a lovely life with your loved ones. I am so sorry about Camila, I know that’s your baby. It’s comforting to know that you gave her a good life and she got many years of being loved. If there is anything I can do, I am here for you. I love you.
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Omg. My heart aches for your family. Myra I want to wrap my arms around all of you. Camila is such a sweet young lady. She knows she is sick. And she knew you had the same thing. That’s why she cozyed up with you. I will pray for your family and hope that god gives you all as much time as comfortable for her.
Detours take forever. Have you not seen how long it takes to rebuild roads? It’s for a reason. For our safety. I know you hate this. I know you want your hair back, your eyelashes and eyebrows. I know you want your appetite and for food to taste good again. I know you wanna go places and spend time with your family instead of sitting at home with a medical mask. I know you wanna kiss your husband and not worry about getting sick because your immune system sucks. Hunny I know all that. You want your life back. And no one blames you for that. Just know that this long detour is for your safety. So you can get back to your life and love it well… for a loooooong time.
I’m always by your side. Through the good, the bad and the downright ugly. I’m only a phone call away. Love you a baby girl.
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I am sending you positive vibes and all my prayers!!! Many Blessings!!! You are an amazing woman!!!
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You are so strong and a beautiful person inside and out! I have you in my thoughts and prayers everyday, give him your fears, frustrations, anger, and all the bumps on the road that you’ve encountered and have faith that He wants the best for you and your family.
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I am so sorry. I have been praying that once the chemo was complete. That would be all you would need. So sorry to learn that you also need surgery and radiation. I wish there was something I could do for you. I will continue to pray for you to get better. Sending my love. Continue to stay strong,
You certainly have a lot on your plate, Myra. I’m hoping you will respond to Mel’s message to contact me.A huge concern I have (and I’m not up to speed) is whether or not you’ve had second opinions.
I love you so very much. I pray and think of you often. My Fridays are still dedicated to you. Life is crazy and often find myself crying but realize friends like you with such strong outlook hopes and dreams make my tribulations a walk in the park. I have grown up so much from you. I have learned so much more. I thank you for your courage. Continue the fight…i will be by your side. GOD Bless Your Family.
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What s journey and how brave your are to chronicle the chaos. I can tell you that it will get better and that is my hope and prayer for you. As you go through this feel love and joy surrounding you. You got this:))