Cancer Journey/ HEALTH

A Detailed, Disheartening Health Update

For those of you who don’t follow the blog daily, these updates may be a bit confusing.  Especially if you read my 12-10-10 blog where I was rejoicing that my PET scan showed no evidence of disease.  Well, the results of the Chest MRI were not as exciting, which has set me back a bit emotionally– it has just been such a drastic upswing, then downswing.  I am determined to wake up tomorrow back in fight mode, as I have been more inward, quiet and teary the last couple days, especially when I am not around people.  
For more info on my Cancer Journey and upcoming surgery, visit this page–Breast Redo’s And Nipple Tattoos.  Catchy title, isn’t it??
12-22-10 Caring Bridge Journal Entry

It was a good day and a bad day, all in one.

My husband had knee repair surgery and all went really well.  He woke up fine and did not get sick from anesthesia–all answered prayer.  I didn’t like seeing that I.V. go into the hand of the one I love.  It made me realize how great he has been through all of my sickness–it is not easy being the one watching!   

His dad came to the surgical center to take him home so I could get to my Oncologist appointment.  I was grateful I was able to stay long enough to see Todd awake and smiling before I had to leave.

My oncology appointment was really hard emotionally.

They had to flush my port, which meant walking through the chemo room.  I looked into the faces of those I knew would be feeling very sick for Christmas and my heart went out to them.  I found myself wanting to get out of that room quickly.  
My port has been achy lately, so I was relieved to have it flushed to avoid blood clots.  As they accessed it, a flood of memory and emotion came racing back along with the familiar smell and taste of metal, a strange thing that happens every time it is accessed.

Dr. Midathada came in the room, it was good to see her.  My mom and friend Carma came with. Seeing my mom was comforting and Carm is the best friend and note taker–thank goodness she was there, because I pretty much lost it emotionally at the beginning of the appointment and was numb through most of it.

One of the first things doc said was “Well, the MRI shows that the tumor is still there and is measurable, it was 6x2x1 (centimeters) now it is 5x1x.8.  This is when I went a bit numb.  All I heard was 
5 centimeters!  My primary care doc told me last week that it was 2 x .8.  She left off the first number.  I don’t know why.  Frankly, it really ticked me off today, because it meant another surprise, and not a good one.

Doc said it could be scar tissue, but also said there was uptake in the area.  It is all so confusing!  Bottom line, we won’t know until after surgery and tissue is tested.

I asked if it had shrunk enough to be removed, she said yes.  

She said since the PET scan was clear it makes her wonder if it is cancer because there was no uptake shown on that particular scan. This is good.

One lymph node is still palpable.  It has not changed in size.  It does not light up on either scan and freely moves around. This is good.

My main tumor—doc has a hard time even feeling it.  She said it is a marked difference from when I first came in. This is confusing because of what that scan says, but this is good.

Right breast-she said there are “subtle areas, not sure, not clear, changes here and there” and told me not to get worked up about it. I’m trying to obey…

If there is cancer, i
f its microscopic disease (no measurable cells) then no more chemoIf measurable then I will have more chemo, it is a stronger one called adryamyocin  4-6 weeks after surgery / once every 2 weeks for 4 rounds (8 weeks).  She also said if it is in even one lymph node, we will do more chemo.

The BB spot on my left breast that I have been feeling, she felt, and said she is not worried about it. Confusing b/c that is also the spot that my primary care doc said showed up on the MRI as new cancer.  This is when I wonder if my Oncologist shoots straight enough with me, or if she leaves things unsaid because of all the unknowns and wants me to stay positive.

I asked if there is cancer why did the PET scan not show it?  She said it could be that the cancer is not one that feeds off glucose (for a PET scan you are injected with glucose to make the cancer cells happy so they light up) or that it is scar tissue.

So, after surgery we will know if we are dealing with scar tissue or cancer.  

I know this is a lot of details, sorry to the non-detailed type people reading it!  Most of this came from Carma’s notes, which again, I was so thankful for as I was a teary mess after doc’s first few sentences.

After doc left the room, I found myself really upset and mad.  The anger part kinda surprised me, but I was
 ticked!  I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I was mad at, but my mom and Carma just sat there and lovingly listened while I let it all come blubbering out. It was all just a bit much, Todd’s surgery plus all the hard unknowns. I worn out and really could not get past that 5 centimeter number.

I knew Todd and the girls were waiting for me at home and that I needed to get it together.  This is when we had a funny moment.  I realized I needed to pull myself together for my family and reached into my purse for some lip gloss.  I walked to the mirror in the exam room and went to put it on, then looked at my red, blotchy- faced reflection, then turned and looked at my mom and Carma.  The look on my face was “what do I think lip gloss is gonna do for this mess”  Carm said “well, the pretty pink will match your nose!”  Lol.  I love her.

I was able to get it together by the time I got home.  My mom came over for awhile and had some gifts for my girls.  She offered to take them to a movie but I told her I just needed them around me tonight.

The girls and I had a great night.  They took turns using Todd’s crutches as a new toy, and we dipped pretzels in chocolate, made a breakfast casserole for tomorrow, and listened to Christmas music.  It really was a great night, boy do I find myself trying to hold on to every moment with them.  They are so precious.

The next three days we will have 3 Christmas celebrations with family, one per day.  Tomorrow it brunch at my house.  Seeing family, especially my baby nephew who is here from Kansas will be GREAT therapy for me!  I’m looking forward to a new day full of wonderful distractions from all this health stuff!!

Once again, thank you all for your love.  Thank you for reading these journals and commenting even on the long ones that go on forever like this one!  I am just so, so thankful for all of you.

Have a very, very, 
Merry Christmas!!
Isaiah 7:14
So the Lord himself will give you this sign: A virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel [God Is With Us]
He is with me.
He is with me.
He is WITH US!  
God is with us.

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  • Page
    December 26, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Oh Amy…only the Lord knows what your heart needs to hear right now…and I pray he speaks boldly to your heart. You are loved!

    “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

  • Cathy M~(checkitoff)
    December 26, 2010 at 3:48 am

    I am still praying Amy & you will get through this. You have to Kick the Cancer, and you will! Hang in there! Merry Christmas to my sweet blogger friend! hugs, Cathy

  • Anonymous
    December 25, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Just wanted you to know you have many, many people praying for you. Even us unknown blog readers!! Continue to stay strong, feel the anger and then let it go. Keep fighting and the rest of us will too! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • Rebecca
    December 25, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Sending you lots of love and prayers that you may find peace and comfort and healing from our Savior!

    I thought of you as I read this on another blog and wanted to pass it on. Cleaning For A Reason.

  • Chara
    December 25, 2010 at 5:09 am

    My husband had a cyst removed from his jaw this week. A very large cyst. The doctor actually called it a beast- which seems pretty applicable after seeing the x-ray. Watching him recover, and deal with the pain and the worrying about the possibility (however remote) that this is not exactly a benign cyst… Well, I was thinking about you this week. Particularly when I was sitting alone in the waiting room during his surgery. My mother kept my 3YO and 6MO and I sat alone wondering at how frightening life could become, and at how big God is.
    I’m keeping you in my prayers, as I have been for a while. Sing Christmas carols and laugh, and remember that you are never really alone.

  • jeana
    December 25, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Lots of love and prayers sent your way. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!


  • Lana
    December 25, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Sorry if my post sounded a bit too rah-rah. I read it again, and kind of cringed. I can’t imagine what you must be going through as I look at my own two girls in the other room. I just want you stay positive; I believe that is such a huge key to recovery. If it is hard,, lean on your family and friends; their love will carry you until you get your spirit back.


  • Lana
    December 25, 2010 at 12:15 am

    One day at a time, one breath at a time. Enjoy each and everyone; no one is guaranteed much beyond today. Focus on the positive, and point your energy there. Let love and family carry you when you are not so strong.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Amy
    December 24, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Amy, I’m so sorry for all of the burdens you have had to bear in these past few weeks. To be able to get through it all the way that you do amazes me. You are a wonderful wife and sweet mother to your girls. I am praying for you earnestly–for strength for your body, for comfort to your body, and peace for you and your family.

    I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  • Melissa
    December 24, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Amy. I’ve only been following your blog for a short time, but in that time I have really come to admire you. I think you are very strong and being the best mama you can be to your girls in spite of everything that is going on. Praying prayers of peace, healing and comfort for you.

  • Craftberry Bush
    December 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Sweet Amy. My heart breaks when I read your words…I am sorry for your downs…I keep thinking of this verse: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
    Rest in him and in your family’s love. Inspite of all your burdens I hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas. They year is almost over and I pray that 2011 will be a year of health for you. Thank you Amy because whether you know it or not you are touching and making a difference in so many of us. God bless sweet Amy !

  • Erin
    December 24, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    As a nurse I can tell you to listen to your Oncologist. Primary care doctors are NOT your best resource. If you are wondering about your oncologist’s point of view just tell her that you know that not all the news is going to be good, but you NEED to hear the real deal! You have a great support system so just tell her you can handle it, you don’t want the pat on the head sugar coated version.

    I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I hope you find peace and joy during this holiday season, NONE of us knows if we will have another one, so try not to get down! Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. You truly are AMAZING…you even color coordinate your lipgloss to your nose! lol

  • Cathy
    December 24, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I’m so sorry that your appointment was not quite what you were expecting. Continuing to pray for you. Merry Christmas to you and your family. ♥♥

  • jennifer
    December 24, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    You are amazing. Praying you have peace these next few days that can only come from Him.
    Emanual- God with us.

  • The Pennington Point
    December 24, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Oh Amy, thank you for sharing all of this with us. It has meant a lot to me. Today I was touched by the people in the room that will be sick for Christmas. I have them on my mind and will be praying for them. I hope your husband recovers quickly….you’ve sure got a LOT going on! Merry Christmas. I am blesses to have gotten to know you this past year. Lisa~

  • Becky
    December 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Merry Christmas!

  • Lizzie Ann
    December 24, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. I will pray for you. I pray for your physical and mental health, along with your spiritual health. Remember that God is good, God is strong and he is there for you through EVERYTHING. Keep Him close to your heart, He is there for you.

  • Craftberry Bush
    December 24, 2010 at 7:34 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Laurie
    December 24, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Amy, I am so sorry for this latest stressful, upsetting phase in your recovery. I am just picturing the whole thing like a crazy, scary rollercoaster ride. I really appreciate you sharing it all with us – being real and letting us walk beside you in it and through it. Over TG weekend, I was in the worse way with my migraine disease (I have chronic migraines, pain almost every day, for 9 ys now.) I rarely get to that point emotionally, but I was sitting outside in the cold and internally saying to God, “I feel like I’m at my limit God, at the end of my resources, the edge of the cliff and I’m scare.” I felt Him say to me, “I have no limit, and I’ve got this.” And, He always does. I am praying for and thinking of you and yours. I KNOW the way you are handling everything, even when you are upset, is inspiring and informing your girls of some vital life lessons that they will carry with them and draw strength from throughout their entire lives. They have a fab mom and I know they know it! Much love, many {hugs}, and wishes for innumerable blessings on Christmas and in the New Year. God bless all of you, Love, Laurie from Scene of the Grime

  • Corn in my Coffee-Pot
    December 24, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this post.
    I know you’ve had such an emotional week. I am praying for you.
    Enjoy the holiday, your family, that nephew– chocolates with the girls!
    Merry Christmas- and God Bless you. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him!

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