Last year's parade photo
I was looking at last year's photo and thought to myself, that was pre-cancer days. And then I thought, no I probably had cancer then too. Just hadn't noticed anything yet. In fact, the breast cancer book that I'm currently reading shocked me with this sentence the other day: "Cancer cells are often present ten years before a mass is finally detectable, having grown to a size one centimeter in diameter and consisting of one billion cells." That's craaaaazy.
Speaking of the book I'm reading, I put it away for a little bit because it really upset me. The author has REALLY good things to say and a fantastic message. Cancer recovery isn't just about what you do while you're at the hospital. Its how you take care of yourself during all the rest of the time. Exercise. Food. Attitude. Spirituality. Etc. And this is very very very important. However, he also has a viewpoint of not letting yourself be pushed around by your doctors and making sure you are informed and make your own decisions. And that's also a good message, but I'm also not an idiot. Of course, I'm going to be making my own decisions and not let a doctor push me into anything I don't want to do. But I am just flat out offended that this author, and I'm completely paraphrasing, he explains and backs up his views with good points, but I'm offended that he is suggesting that a doctor wouldn't have the best intentions for their patients. He also expressed an opinion that chemotherapy is rarely a good option for a breast cancer patients, and that going with the least invasive options is the way to go. And while he has written a book and has the right to express this opinion, it had a VERY negative affect on me for about 12 hours. I went from 100% confidence in my amazing women-doctor-team, down to 99%. And that 1% of doubt was more poisonous to me than chemotherapy will ever be. It was bad. bad bad bad.
I think it made me physically ill. I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling AWFUL. I knew something was definitely not right. No fever, whew! But I was having bathroom issues, chills, my stomach was upset, and a killer headache. I was scheduled to get another Zoladex shot at 10am. At 9:30, Superman called and told them what I was experiencing and the nurse talked to me. Yes, something was amiss. Especially with the chills, I had probably caught something. She was not terribly concerned and told me to call if any other symptoms showed up and they rescheduled my shot for Friday so I could stay in bed and rest. Which I did the rest of the morning. Now whether it was the 1% doubt that made me physically ill, or if it was because I was at the parade yesterday around tons of people (definitely got breathed on by a bunch of drunk people that nearly knocked me over on their barhop journey), I will not know. But I am glad that today I feel SO MUCH BETTER. And that the stupid doubt is out of my head. I'm back in 100% with my amazing doctors and know for certainty that I am doing the right thing. They have recommended my treatment plan based on scientific data and are using a treatment that has been successful for millions of women. They've made their recommendation for chemotherapy also based on the fact that I'm young and strong and was perfectly healthy before this all started. As much as I hate it and its effect on my body, IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. And I apologize to myself, and my Superman (more specifically, taking it out on him) for ever doubting it and it will never happen again. I'm in this 100%.
I was feeling better by evening time, and I was scheduled to attend a "Look Good Feel Better" event at the hospital. It turned out to be just myself and one other woman, so its a good thing I didn't stay home. This program is AMAZING. Basically, its about making women feel better about their appearance despite the effects of treatment on their skin and their looks in general. Beauty products are donated and given to cancer patients for free. I came home with a bag of products, everything I would EVER need, and I'm estimating the value was about $200. I also learned how to tie scarves! I was concerned about drawing eyebrows when those fall out, and I learned how to do that. It was just awesome. The person who led the workshop was a guy named Jim. He was wonderful. Very upbeat and personable. He was also technologically challenged and was given a desktop computer from the hospital staff to use for his videos. I got to help him use that, and it was cute. It made me feel useful. :) And, in conversation about my work, I found out that he is a KCK graduate! Harmon High School! He attended Argentine Middle School too. YEAY!!! And now he is out healing others with his volunteer work. (I think its volunteer work, not sure.) I'm kicking myself for not asking if he was a member of band or orchestra though. FAIL! If I ever see him again, I will be asking him.
I've been receiving lots of cards in the mail from various friends and family. Its so uplifting to know that people are thinking of me. I've got some major thank you notes to write to people in general for being just amazing. I received a cute elephant in the mail (that sings!) from my aunt. Its taken its place on the mantel, looking over the family with his strength, serenity, and wisdom.
I'd like to end this post with a video for my husband. I don't know what I would do without him. I am the luckiest woman to have him in my court through all of this.