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.