Right now I am doing lots and lots of things to actively treat the cancer. I saw the ladies in the support group flail around today with the problem that once treatment is over, there is nothing else you can actively do to treat the cancer other than to wait and watch and wonder if or when it will come back? Life is uncertain. All of us will die. But if you hear you have cancer, you can't help but wonder if you really know what kind of death you can anticipate? I know what the statistics say about me; what will be the reality? That is the hard part of try and figure out.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Well I got to feel a pair of fake boobs today. Tonight was the monthly meeting of the breast cancer support group. Somehow I managed to take Betty to the dermatologist this morning, take her to lunch, come home and rest for about 1/2 hour, then go to a meeting (back in Carrollton) for an hour, and then rest until time to go to the support group. That is a LOT for me to do in one day. I was like a wilted lettuce leaf too. Barely functional this afternoon and evening. But I made it. The good thing about making the support group meeting is that as I'm considering how much of me to cut off, I got to see and feel a set of prosthetic breasts. Boy there are a bunch of different kinds too! My concern was cool boobs. I don't mean as in "nifty," either. I mean, as in, "If I can't stand the thought of wearing a wig because it's too hot, I'm not real interested in prosthetics that increase the heat factor either." There actually is a kind of prosthetic that can be kept cooler (maybe not cool) in the same way that those Thermarest(tm) heat gizmos can keep your back warm. Helps me understand what some of the prosthetic options are. My lymphodema sleeve is now in, so I can go get it, and then I'll be ready to fly when the whole MD Anderson thing goes down in January. The compression sleeve helps to prevent swelling of the lymph tissues on my arm, which can be triggered by flying. Don't want lymphodema, so I'll be a good girl and wear the sleeve.
December 7th is my next appointment with the surgeon. It's my guess that I will need to have some idea what I want to cut off by then because we'll probably have to set a surgical date post chemo. I think I know the answer, but I'm reluctant to surrender to the decision until after I've collected all the information. Jenn and I will talk with the radiation oncologist on Friday to help clarify some of the statistical and likely outcomes. It's hard to see parts of your body as a statistical study. What will I keep? What will I cut off? Is there any benefit to keeping extra stuff, or is there a benefit to eliminating some of it? Some of the answers have to do with long term chances (or lack of them) for recurrence, and some have to do with local chances for recurrence. Can I do anything which will effect the local chance of recurrence? As a triple negative girl, it appears the answer is "No." The chances are the chances are the chances, it seems. But that will be further explored on Friday.