Seriousness is sinking in

By | July 25, 2014

I’m starting to shed my hair. I noticed at first when I use the toilet, and then again when I dried my hair after the shower – seeing enough bits of hair in the towel that I had to throw it in the wash!

At Wednesday’s oncologist appointment, when I asked about surgery timing, specifying my desire to spend a week in Hawaii before surgery, the point was made not to push it too late. There is enough time for that week, but I should not plan on pushing surgery out 2-3 months. The comment was in the lines of “we’ve done all this chemo, don’t waste it”. This cancer won’t be killed that easily – even if the masses shrink to smaller sizes they need to be removed.

Yesterday, I got a short synopsis of the pathology of the third mass (the small one in my left breast). It is DCIS PR/HR+,HER2- with a small Ki-67 (<5%). This is sometimes called pre-cancerous or cancer in the duct itself, as it has not yet spread to the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS has a high likelihood of turning into IDC (which my other two masses are). So this is my magic number three cancer.

I say magic number three because that seems to be my meditation number. When I took swimming lessons last fall, the instructor has me breath after every three strokes. Ever since then, three seemed to be a better number for me for meditating. When I do yoga, I hold poses for three breaths, and when I try to calm my nerves to sleep I count my breathes 1-2-3 and then repeat. So three seems to be my number.

So, now that I have three cancers, it can stop there! No need to go any further!

My plan for a triathlon before surgery will likely need to be reschedule until after surgery. The window won’t be long enough for me to manage it and Hawaii at the same time – and Hawaii is definitely something I plan to do (Maui more specifically – easy to get to from here and an easy island to get around).

I do, however, have a new plan for after surgery. One of the wonderful ladies on the Flat and Fabulous Facebook group has inspired me to aim to trapeze at Club Med Cancun in the fall of 2015. I want to be fully recovered from surgery such that I can do something so crazy as swing from a trapeze – plus they have sailing and kayaking too … some nice serious activities that require upper body strength.

I am finding this process of hurdles not dissimilar to doing a PhD. At each phase there are additional hurdles to overcome. One bit of advice we are given in the PhD is to celebrate each hurdle as you complete it. My first hurdle is AC chemo. I’ve done two treatments, so one could say 1/2 way, but that would not be fair … as I still need to recover from this second treatment before I can truthfully call it done!

I am happy that I am starting to get some productive days back. My life isn’t all about cancer anymore. I am re-emerging into my academic life, trying to pull together as much as I can to make a dissertation out of my existing thesis project. I have a couple of things that need to happen in the fall that hopefully I can make happen. If they do, then I shall have enough data to turn it into something. I have learned a lot, and do have a lot to share – I just need close it off and put it all together.

So with the seriousness of this disease sinking in, what is also sinking in is my need to focus on the future – and on what comes afterwards (or at least what I’m going to do with the next year and a half that doesn’t involve chemo and cancer surgery).

4 thoughts on “Seriousness is sinking in

  1. Kathy Hogue
    Yes, things are serious but don’t let it get you down. You and Scott are doing the very best you can. Plan for the future and keep on fighting. I know all will be good. You’re strong, beautiful and full of life. I know you’ll get through this. Love you lots.
    Mom
    Reply
    1. Jane Perry
      Becky, I’m cheering for you! Thank you for writing about your experience and for sharing that with us all. Love and hugs to you and Scott both.
      Reply
  2. Odete
    Hello Rebecca !
    I “popped” in to see how you are doing – Wow ! You just keep on going. Always focussed that is why you accomplish so much. I was always impressed by all the things you kept doing. Keep planning ! Keep fighting ! Keep going! You will come out on top.
    xoxo Odéte
    Reply
  3. Scott Johnson
    Hi Rebecca, this feels like the return to control blog. Illness can become it’s own little story world to be lost in. Problem with this world is there are so many actors your influence becomes diluted by their necessary (but not personal) relationship with the disease you are to them. This isn’t to be critical of the care people, they need a bit of distance to practice their profession and be themselves too.

    Your blogs are helping me get back to who I am to myself, Leslie and family as distinct from my “family” of medical specialists that I frequently visit in their lives as connects to me. You reminded me today of the necessary acceptance and separation of worlds that strangely an intact person needs.

    It feels like you’ve come out the other side–congratulations for when you feel complete about it.
    Scott j

    Reply

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