Thursday, April 23, 2009

MRI Results

Wednesday morning, Dr. So swept into the room we were waiting in, big smile spreading his chubby cheeks, and said, "Great news!"

He handed the radiology report to Mark to read for himself, but he developed a sudden, very damp, optical condition. Strangely, the same thing happened to me, so Dr. So read out this beautiful stanza himself:

"Status post bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction, no MRI evidence for malignancy."

With the added treat of " . . . essentially no parenchyma [that's breast tissue] identified," that means that there's essentially no place for any new breast cancer to grow.

I don't know that I can put into words what this means to us yet. Even though all of my doctors suspected this was my outcome, I never really felt safe until now. I had a nice chance to talk to Dr. So about this, and he totally understood. I was spending so much time trying not to let this suspicion and unease drive me crazy. I don't have to do that anymore. I don't have to lay awake at night, charting my lymphs. As Mark pointed out, I can pop in a Jane Austen movie, or read my favorite Kipling or Hemingway, not because I'm semi-desperately needing to be soothed at night, but just because I feel like Austen or Kipling or Hemingway.

It means a lot, in essence. I'll work on figuring it all out, in between dancing, giggling, and smooching Mark, in my uncancery future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Almost There

So the MRI is on Monday, and I just want it to be over. Looking forward to this test has been really reminding me of this period of testing last year, which was arguably the worst in this whole process. It's been a challenge to stay in the present and remember that my situation now is very different than it was a year ago. I don't want to waste this weekend, but I really would like it to be Monday, with me inside that clanging, banging machine, getting things done.

Things have been pretty happy and lighthearted around here, however. On Thursday I had my pre-scan labs done, and since Mark was almost done with a very light day at the hospital, he came over and met me with snacks. Still in his white coat, stethoscope and all, I had to laugh as he walked back with me. I told the phlebotomist that I hoped she didn't mind me bringing my own physician. To which Mark added, "I don't even know her that well."
He then proceeded to his chief occupation during blood draws; distraction. He swung the pastry he'd brought me from side as he said, "Looook into the danish . . ."
Which may well have knocked me out, if the danish hadn't been cherry, and reminiscent of, um, what was coming out of my arm.

We finished off the week with turkey stew, a lovely lunch with a new friend, a clean house, a lovely visit with old friends, and all the lilacs Che Bella had.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Nap Was Fantastic

And if you know me well you'll know that I'm an authority on naps.

My appointment was fine. He did a little prodding (all good) and set up my MRI for later this month, the 20th, I think (it's in my planner, not my brain. That's how I work.) So that will be good. I think getting IV contrast MRIs for the rest of my life will maybe get me over my abhorrence of IVs. That would be nice. And I do really well at things that require no movement, so the test should go well. Dr. So told us he'd call us when he got the results, but I think we'll schedule an appointment with him anyway.

That's another thing. Visiting the oncologist while you're trying to beat up cancer is very different from visiting the oncologist after you've supposedly beaten up cancer, and I haven't quite figured out the latter yet. At the beginning, for me anyway, fast and decisive is good. I really wanted action. Now that I've got a little more time, I'm wanting . . . meticulousness. On a level that some would find annoying, I want to be sooo examined. Sometimes I still don't understand why I'm so assuredly healthy, and I'd like to work on that. And it would be great if it didn't always have to be Mark that reminds me patiently why sentinel node biopsies work so well. I'm hoping to not resort to that piece of information as the new tattoo I joked about to disguise my radiation markers. Also, it's not really fun to lay awake at night and try to feel every discernible lymph node for 'normality.' Because there are hundreds.

Luckily, Dr. So understands this. He praises my vigilance but also knows that it can make a person a bit nutty. He also encourages vacation. If only there were a country that heartily embraced naps . . .

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Back to Dr. So

Oh, it's been a while. I haven't seen Dr. So, apart from a friendly parking lot run-in, since May, after my last radiation treatment. Tomorrow's the day we resume our tumultuous acquaintance. I'm not sure our visit will go beyond the usual armpit poke and a little more scheduling, but we'll see. Surprises abound and all that. Mainly I just need to make sure my follow-up imaging is on-track. Hopefully all of my surgery inflammation will have calmed down enough to make it MRI time. And while I still hate IVs and the clanging is no fun, the situation of my not having any conclusive evidence of health makes me really eager for this. But all of my memory of these visits being so negative. . . yeah. I'm struggling to not go back to the scary/sad places. So far I'm mostly winning, and I think one clean MRI would do me a world of good. Wish me luck, kids. And a glorious nap in the afternoon - I'll need them both.