I've decided with some trepidation to start this blog, a highly public act for someone with fantasies of privacy that seem to run contrary to my fundamental sharing nature. In any case, this seems like a more efficient way to share what's going on with me than writing a zillion emails.
Last month I found a lump in my right armpit, assumed it was nothing, but follow-up mammogram indicated cancer and subsequent biopsy in Seattle confirmed it. Here are the basics:
-I have infiltrating ductal carcinoma, the most common breast cancer, most likely stage 3 (for the cancer wonks, staging and TNM won't be definitively determined until surgery).
-Treatment plan calls for chemotherapy (started two weeks ago, hair is beginning to fall out...), followed by mastectomy and axillary dissection (removal of cancerous lymph nodes in armpit), then radiation and long-term hormone therapy.
-I'm getting treatment at Swedish Cancer Institute and we're living on Bainbridge Island in the peaceful home of my sister-in-law and her husband, who have been incredibly generous and accommodating. I get to go to the hospital via ferry and foot, which is ideal for my psyche. And the school district is... well, let's just say it's the upside of the socioeconomic monoculture we've landed in. Sad to say, in this country high SES = good public schools.
So far I am feeling great. They force-feed you meds to combat the side effects of chemo and although the side-effect-fighting meds come with their own potential side effects, it's all been fine so far. Once I got out of my travel-diagnosis-moving-surgical procedures-and-naysaying nurses-induced doldrums and started running again last week, I started feeling better in every way.
I'll leave you with some pics. My luddite brain managed to upload them but they refuse to stay in the order I put them in! Oh well, consider this a work in progress.
With love and gratitude,
|Second infusion of adriamycin-cytoxan|
|The "red devil," aka adriamycin, which is so toxic it has to be injected by a nurse rather than by drip. The nurse actually buttoned her jacket to the top before administering it.|
|Alder at skateboard camp. Couldn't resist sharing this gem.|
|Settled on this one. Libby says I look like Pat Benatar.|
|Me in my mom's hair! Alder was alarmed.|