Reality Sets In




You know that saying that when all around you are losing their heads, it could be that you haven't fully grasped the situation?

Well, yeah, there could be some of that going on here.

Yesterday, I met with my surgeon to talk options and next steps now that I have an official breast cancer diagnosis.

He's frickin' HILARIOUS. But not exactly on purpose.  He just has no effs to give --and I like this because you don't get that kind of confidence out of thin air. Also?  He's my doctor's surgeon and I really like going to the surgeons my doctors go to. Anyway, he's confident and blunt and sarcastic--my kinda guy.

The news yesterday was that this is more of a big deal than I was expecting.  I guess I thought the lumpectomy (if I go that route) would be a lot like the biopsies. A pain, yeah, but I'd just drive myself home.

It turns out it requires general anesthesia (which traditionally makes me barf a lot) and there are a lot of decisions that have to be made around the treatment plan and the follow-up radiation and/or reconstructive surgery. I'm going into heavy research mode now to figure out a treatment plan that aligns with my "least invasive" philosophy but still honors my "I'd like to live cancer-free" philosophy. I believe in the ultimate wisdom of the body and I'm not sure nuking myself into menopause is what I want to do. (Granted, that's on the horizon anyway, but I'm not in any hurry.)

On the other hand, I have cancer in my body that needs to be addressed. And when doctors start talking about margins and "high profile" ratings on my cancer cells, that becomes more urgent.

I guess I've graduated from thinking that this is an inconvenience to thinking that this is a battle that I am preparing to win. The fact that my cancer isn't life-threatening doesn't mean it's not cancer. So, I am gathering the information. I will meet with an oncologist today or tomorrow and a plastic surgeon, in case I want to add that into the mix. I'm trying to get as much information as I can from all camps--from the "holistic sing Kumbaya and pronounce yourself healed" people to the "radical mastectomy, Big Pharma, Better Living Through Chemistry" people. I suspect my treatment plan will lie somewhere in the middle.

I can think of a lot of things to be grateful for --I have pretty decent health insurance through my University, and my professors have been amazing and loving and supportive. I like my doctors. I live in a time of incredibly sophisticated diagnostic technology, which has bought me the time to do the research and choose a path.

And of course, the outpouring of support and love and the number of people holding me and sending love and light has been a simple miracle. Thank you. If I could harness all of that, I'd be well already.

Comments

Lane said…
Just 💚
ccr in MA said…
Lots of deep breaths, and it sounds like you're well focused on where you are, where you want to be, and figuring out how to get there. Hugs.
tanita✿davis said…
Yea... there's a lot of Real that happens when you talk to a surgeon. I'm so grateful that he's connected, someone your doctor already trusts - he sounds amazing. And I hear you on the "ushering you into menopause" thing - it's good you already know that, and are gathering as much intel as you can.

One moment, one step, one breath at a time.

I am sorry to read of life's latest challenge (foot, divorce, back, breast). Some of my friends have chosen not to do reconstruction, some have and wish they'd not bothered and others have gone the full reconstruction with tattooed nipples route and are truly happy. You'll know what speaks to you when you hear it. You have such a breadth and depth of friends that surround you. Wish some of us were nearer to be of practical help when you will need it.
Bethany said…
Please keep writing and sharing ... you are loved and the more you share the more we can empathize at the very least. Will pray you find a path that works for you ... and that when it does wander into the overwhelm lane, you have a shoulder or glass or pillow or place to let it out handy. You. Are. Amazing. And Loved. Xoxo
Barb, thinking of you at this time - you've been through so much recently and really didn't deserve this on top! Crossing fingers that once you have a plan it will start to feel manageable.
Kathy Ireland said…
What everyone else has already said PLUS...you are not driving yourself home. I'll come from here and drive you if I have to...
Eileen Jackson said…
When does this lumpectomy happen, Barb?

Here, laugh at my short term memory problems...I was going to ask if your daughter will be home to help out...but I can not for the life of me remember what she's calling herself these days. Daughter the Eldest ;)

You've had a right royal (expletive) year. You deserve better. But a good surgeon is a good starting place, along with your excellent paradigm. I know you are strong and smart and GOT this, but I worry about you nevertheless.

All my love - Ei
Adele Corder said…
3 of our book club friends have this experience-I would talk to them if you are inclined or able.
Adele Corder said…
By the way, my name is Lisa Kirkpatrick, not sure why it thinks I'm Adele!
Kathy Ireland said…
I think that Roswell should change her name to ED. Eldest daughter. (Better than OD - oldest daughter) :-)
Pretty sure she has now settled on Ramona and won't be changing it again for the foreseeable future. I wish I'd changed mine when I got divorced--never liked Barbara--but I couldn't think of what to change it to.
Barb, sending you all my support through the ether for the best recovery possible. It sounds like you are in excellent hands and trust them to be so which is as good a starting place as anybody could want or need! As much as I wish you were not dealing with this I know that you will give it hell and we are all here cheering you on and listening to support in whatever way we possibly can. As a fellow introvert I will ask you to practice asking and receiving help from others as much as possible, for us intros that is a battle in itself but remember we are stronger together and the ones asking to help need to help as much as you need help, it's never just one way even though we can't readily see that!
You are receiving
lots of love coming today and always,
Rosie (Mee U Sea)