pathology

So much of Cancerland seems to be in a foreign language where you need a PhD to navigate through it. Pathology reports are the best example of this.

I got results back on Wednesday and I have just been sitting with them, processing them, and trying to decipher them.

Overall, my doctors are pleased. The results came back not necessarily bad, but certainly not great. I had a good response to chemo, but I couldn’t get all I needed. So because of that all 3 of my tumors came back positive, although they were significantly smaller. The best news of the path report is my surgeon was able to get good margins! This means no cancer cells are seen at the outer edge of the tissue that was removed.

My lymph nodes are the nasty part. They are the crazy SOB’s that have all along made me advanced Stage (III c) and caused all the worry. When the cancer spreads outside it’s original tumor and spreads to the lymph nodes they are now in the bodies “highway” to go hog wild on a joy ride. My surgeon removed 25 lymph nodes. 25!!! Again, here is where I go overachieving. Most people in the axillary (armpit) have 15, I had 22. One of these came back positive. She removed 3 nodes from my infraclavicular (under the clavicle) and two of these came back positive. My nodes also had “external extension” meaning they spread outside the node. See….show offs! This is a gut punch. These infraclavicular nodes have been the lump in my throat worry this entire time. They make me high risk for reoccurrence and my case trickier than most.

So what does all this mean: It doesn’t really change much. It stresses the importance of radiation and for me to get that started as quickly as possible, and hormone therapy. Since my cancer grows off of hormones we have to send signals/shut down those from my body. I will be taking Tamoxifen (a pill) for 10 years to keep those hormones in check. Hello hot flashes! I was re-staged to Stage II, which is the first time in my life I’m escatatic to be getting lower at something!

Radiation is what I go to next. I have to be able to hold my arm above my head for 30 minutes for them to do the mapping. Post surgical instructions are that I can’t lift my arm above shoulder height for two weeks, so I hope to be able to do mapping by week 3 or 4 at the latest. I will keep you posted on where we decide to do radiation. We had decided to stay here and not got to Houston, but that may be back on the table. I will need 33 daily (M-F) treatments, so 6.5 weeks. Holy sunburn!

I am continuing to recover amazingly from surgery. My docs are very pleased with my wounds and healing. I am looking forward more than anything to having my (4) drains removed on Wednesday and being able to take a long hot shower. I am like a Mama duck with all these babies. I haven’t taken anything at all for pain since Wednesday and every day I wake up a little less sore. Sleeping is hard, so I spend the night rotating from my bed to my borrowed zero gravity power recliner and I have been enjoying cat naps during the day while the kiddos are at school. Overall, it’s all been so much better than I ever could have imagined.

Garrett and I are planning on a F U cancer and 10 year wedding anni trip in October to Greece. It’s been a fun distraction to dream of, plan for, shop for my new gravity defying boobies, and light at the end of this dark ass tunnel.

So much love has been poured in to me the last week and I am so grateful. All the smiling faces that have stopped by and the sweet gifts and treats that have arrived have made me so happy. A super special thank you to my Mama, Miss. Angie. This woman is incredible. All the time, but especially now. She truly missed her calling as a nurse and has been taking unbelievable care of me and my entire family. Thank you so much Mom, you are the true definition of a selfless eternal nurturer. I love you!

Santorini-Greece

post-op

As promised, I went in for surgery last Wednesday May 3rd. With a later check in time, we got to drop the kiddos off at school just like a regular ol morning, which was really nice. We got all checked in and then came the dreaded time to put in my IV. I have “small and rolly” (the very technical term) veins anyway, then with all the chemo they are just shot. After about 4 pricks in my arms and 6 in my feet and ankles, they decided it would be best to put me under with gas then figure out the IV sitch. Awesome. NOT.

My breast surgeon started her work at 12:30 and was out talking to my fam at 5:00 and my plastic surgeon finished up her part at 6:00pm. Long time under, no doubt. You should have seen the waiting room tho, or maybe you did and were there. Huge party. Just the way I wanted it. Friends and family everywhere. There wasn’t any Cards Against Humanity playing, but hard to dictate the party rules when your asleep!

Back to the veins, I have taken my badassery (yes, that’s a word) up another level. I woke up with the IV in my neck. Apparently, that’s the only one they could get to cooperate. Felt very junkie-chic.

Just to keep up the drama my heart decided to go berserk around 11:30pm after I woke up. Heart racing, pulse got up to 170, bp shot up, very similar to my last Taxol reaction. They quickly moved me up to the cardiac floor, which is where the party is at. After puking, a bunch of meds and a costume change I was feeling much better. Just like a frat party.

My hot shit Cardiologist came to see me Thursday morning and concluded that I am a freak. No one can tell me why this is happening, other than my body doesn’t like drugs, and although it is extremely scary and alarming it is not necessarily harmful or damaging to my heart. Show off. She prescribed me some meds to carry around in case I ever need them, but to keep on truckin and be assured that I am OK in this department.

We got home around 6:00pm on Thursday night. I am astounded at how well I am doing. I haven’t taken a prescribed pain pill since I got home from the hospital and I have been up movin and groovin ever since. G and I even walked up to breakfast yesterday. It’s kinda been like a little mini staycation. The kiddos have been in Dallas since Thursday, and although we miss them like crazy the calm and quiet has been incredibly healing! Those crazy bastards come home in a couple hours! Ahhhhhhh.

As always, thank you so much for the love and support. The few days before surgery I will always remember. Many visits from friends, gifts, flowers, treats, calls, special lunches, encouraging words, farewell tatas toasts, etc. You guys sure know how to fill a girl up!

Wednesday we get the full pathology report back from my surgeon. We are all hopeful this is going to be nothing but good news. I promise to report back but please send all your rainbow sparkly unicorn glitter juju this way.