Sunday, August 5, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007 Grittin' my teeth
Hi All, It's me again. I hate to complain, really I do. But the pain! Ouch! Surgery is not for wimps. Ouch! Don't ask my why I'm smiling in this picture with Catherine. Ouch!
Just kidding. It's not too bad. And a ride in a red mustang convertible is enough to put a smile on anyone's face!
I had the surgery as planned on July 30. The surgeons tell me it went well. I lost more blood than they expected and had to have a transfusion, but I survived the four and a half hour surgery. The anesthesiologist did his job well, and I didn't get sick. It was the best anesthesia work ever (is that possible?). Dr. Tsao-Wu put some freaky expander thingys in me, and Dr. Smith gave me an On-Q pain ball to deliver lidocaine to my surgical site. It's the coolest thing ever invented. Dr. Smith took out all my axillary lymph nodes on the left, and just a handful on the right. Preliminary results of the right lymph nodes showed the cancer had not spread there. Those giant circus boobs are gone, and the cancer with them. I hope.
I will find out on Tuesday. Yes, I'm anxious. I will find out if the margins were clear, and what the tumors looked like. Unfortunately, because I had chemo prior to surgery, it will be hard to actually locate all the tumors in the tissue. I think Dr. Smith will stage my cancer. I'm pretty sure it's just Stage II. I am not really sure because I had 5 tumors, and one of these was in a lymph node. The TNM classification is really just for one tumor. The staging helps determine my treatment and prognosis. My earlier pathology reports indicated that the neoadjuvant chemo and bilateral mastectomies were the right approach. These new path reports will determine if I need radiation treatment. I assume I will hear something about my prognosis (depending on whether I do the radiation or some other treatments). Five years? Five months? Blah blah blah.
Rex and I are pretty tired of all this cancer talk. He and I have been bonding over the past few weeks. A while back I decided he needed to have a doggie date, so I took him down by the river for some fun with a little friend, Chaco. We had a ball! Unfortunately, he got some weeds in his fur and it went from bad to worse. $750 later he is wearing a stupid cone (elizabethan collar) and is taking lots of antibiotics to cure the hot spots on his neck. Poor Rex! That's what I get for trying to be a cool dog mom. I should stick with what I know best, which is, um . . . . . I'm pretty sure all I'm good at is lying on the sofa and moaning. Oh yeah, and waiting for the doorbell to ring, and hoping it's a friend to come visit me.
Number of books finished: 1
DVDs watched: 5
Hours spent on sofa: 60
Age of last home health care nurse: about 95. I am serious.
Phone calls received: at least a hundred.
Visits: about 15 (Yay! I love them! Please call first, though)
Bon bons eaten: 6 (but who's counting)
Pounds gained : None, so far. You would think I'd lose weight during surgery! Duh! But hey, people, you try losing weight when people bring you food all day long and all of it tastes wonderful!
Runs to Flying Star for eclairs: 2
Calories in 1 Flying Star eclair: 2000, more or less
I read a study today that said people with strong social connections tend to experience less stress and depression than those who are more isolated. Just sharing your feelings can be helpful. One recent study used MRI brain scans and demonstrated that putting feelings into words does help reduce distress. And laughter, of course, is the best medicine.
(in case you were wondering, that's why I blog)
I am so grateful, really I am, that I have the support of great friends like you all. Every conversation we have is meaningful, important, uplifting, and encouraging. I will never take our friendship for granted, and I hope you don't either.
You people are amazing. Everyone last one of you.
I give special thanks to my friend Catherine, who drove me around town in her red convertible Mustang, blasted out Bon Jovi music, and gave me a dose of Vitamin D and fresh air that I badly needed. Thanks!
Thanks to Catherine and Rachel and Callie for taking Rex to the vet to finally get him fixed up. I apologize to all you people who saw him at his worst, stinkiest state, and acted like it was no big deal. He was vile! But he's all better now, and he loves everybody and he loves breakfast most of all (he wanted you to know that).
Thanks to all of you wonderful people who are determined to stuff me full of fabulous food. My mom, Rachel, and I are so grateful.
Thanks for all the fabulous flowers, too! You know how much I love them.
Wait! What's that noise? Oh, it's my thighs rubbing together! Must be the chocolate! Or it could be that giant box of southwest goodies. Who knew that carmel coated popcorn was a high-fiber snack!
Kurt's coming home in a few days. I can't wait to see that little stinker. He's been at field training all summer. I miss him. He makes me laugh! I hope I don't pop a stitch.
What I know for sure: Never underestimate the power of eclairs, err, I mean friendship.