For a couple of weeks I have wanted to update this blog. Instead, I’ve spent the time searching and searching for that silver lining. For the past 5 1/2 years every time new, unnerving information has entered the picture (usually news of progression) I’ve spent some time reflecting and typically that silver lining comes to me. Just as I am at the edge, POP! There it is something that I can look forward to, some type of salvation in the story.
I’d be lying if I said that was the case this time. I’m a bit on edge after the past couple of months. It’s been a tumultuous, overwhelming few months that have tested my faith. When I say faith, so many meanings are implied there. I never thought I would throw my arms up in the air and just cry in frustration. I am usually a “planner” and a positive one-step-at-a-time kind of gal. I feel like I’ve been twisting in the wind lately, clearly not a comfortable place for me.
I’ll start at the beginning. My PET SCANS from early Dec. With a barrage of scans always set for December – the information can be uplifting for the holidays or just downright depressing. This year I left my appointment with my Onc feeling fairly good about what was ahead. A new drug (granted it is a very glamorous butt shot – insert eye roll here) it was new, which means hope. The scans showed a few hotspots that we seemed to zip through and I was on my way. I asked for a copy of the scans and didn’t get one that day. No worries, I dogged my poor nurse navigator for weeks to get copies mailed to me. (This woman must see me coming her way and wince). But, I like to keep hard copies for a number of different reasons. The said copies came in the mail in mid-January and well, they didn’t give me the warm fuzzies. Geez, had I not been “all there” during that Dec. appointment where I felt cautiously confident heading into the New Year? Confident that this metastatic breast cancer was pretty well under control?
Fast forward to “Keith Morrison/investigator reporter Kate rolled in with a little Trapper John MD Kate” and suddenly I am dying in a matter of weeks! AHhh. Ok, reeling it all in. The point – I am going on six years of reading the reports of pets, cts, MRI’s, ultrasounds, biopsies, mammograms, etc…you get the point. I am no babe in the woods here. I’m all over these things and naturally I whip out my last PET and start comparing. Yes, cause for some questions. My next “butt shot” appt. with my onc is just days away at this point. I drag my poor hubs to the kitchen table and study and restudy my results. We google, we read and re-read, we highlight. Long story short we roll in to the Onc ready for some answers and the best part? We are a united front -ready for what comes our way. The most disturbing finding in this report was some “uptake” in my colon again! A surgeon had taken out a “precancerous” mass back in May when a PETSCAN had highlighted the area. Here it was again? Not a lot of answers from my onc. I asked about another colonoscopy now instead of waiting until May (my follow up) and my onc seemed to agree to refer.
One week later I was doing the prep of hell for the colonoscopy that yes, I insisted upon. What the hell was I thinking? Am I a masochist? I drift off during the procedure and head home feeling confident this was a “Just in case” colonoscopy. Hell, I am already thinking of those other spots that are going to be the focus of my next appointment with my onc. My colonoscopy was on a Thursday and my surgeon called first thing Monday morning to tell me that well, yes, looks like some high grade A-typical cells are there. Precancerous cells in the exact same spot as May. They will need to go in and do further surgery, the sooner the better as the scarring will provide a good guide for the surgeon. I quickly ask, is it my breast cancer? Is this a metastatic spot? I almost fall over when I am told, “No”. This is a whole new beast if it is indeed cancer, it is colorectal.
WHAT? Seriously? I am 37-years-old. I have had metastatic breast cancer since I was 32. I have been beaten down with treatments over the years. I have watched half my family die at the hands of freakin’ cancer! But – Aha, alas the silver lining I have been blessed to tolerate the treatments and they’ve worked! I’ve been surrounded by loving, caring people during those times of death. But, this, this may be one toke over the line – even for me.
Today – I went into surgery (starving with an ‘iffy’ belly after the damn prep AGAIN). The surgeon was efficient and kind. It was outpatient. I rolled into the OR like a “baller” cause hell yea I know my way around this scene! I also know my way around 10,9…lights out. Ha. When I woke up in recovery, a bit groggy, I noticed and felt some wetness on my face. Tears rolling down out of my eyes. The sudden surge of sadness that I am yes, here again. It seems like all roads lead here to a dark recovery room, waiting again. Maybe it was the drugs? No worries, I quickly got it together. But for those few minutes, it just felt good to let it out by myself in a dark recovery room.
And here I am again, waiting. No course to set my sights on. Pathology should be back by midweek. I’m praying for good news but whatever it is, it is and I will deal. Best case – we are all good and monitor. Worst case – we’ve got a whole new chemo regimen to tap. And then the places in between. The waiting. It’s the waiting that sucks. It’s the waiting that finds me peering over that edge. Where is my next move?
After all of this, the Hubs and I have opted to make the trek to a larger, research facility for a second opinion regarding all of my care. I shall make sure my medical records or my small novel as it has been dubbed, will make the journey as well. Let’s just get a fresh perspective. We are lucky to be headed that way on Friday. Until then, I wait. I find my “Zen” somehow.