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).