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Take Two - Good But Waiting

Monday, January 16, 2012

Some may have noticed that I’ve been somewhat absent from SP, for a while. While I kept up with the two teams I’m leader on, I only posted elsewhere occasionally.

Well, since November life has been a bit more challenging. While doing a half marathon on November 5, I ended up with major blisters on both feet. This took me out of walking totally for a long time. I missed my next and final half of the year, and all the 5Ks I would normally do here at home during November and December, because the chemo I was on prevented the blisters from healing in their usual quick manner.

On top of the blisters I caught the Colorado Crud... a viral upper respiratory infection that I have only recently gotten over, with the exception of a lingering cough. Something else that kept me away from walking.

I had my final chemo infusion at the end of November. This was my hardest cycle yet, what with the crud and blisters added to the worst side effects I had throughout the entire lymphoma treatment. This cycle brought on a UTI and the shingles along with more nausea and GERD than in the past cycles.

Late December I had my post chemo PET\CT scan. I went to my next doctor appointment believing that everything was done... the lymphoma would be in total remission and I would be getting out my port before the start of the new year. But the universe decided to play another cruel trick on me. There was a new area of uptake (glowy bits) in the lymph nodes under my left arm. There was immediate talk of biopsy. Then the fact that I was currently fighting shingles and they were on my left bicep came up. Could this be the cause? While it was decided that the shingles could very well be the cause, my oncologist decided that I needed to get a mammogram just to be certain because it could be from BREAST CANCER. Ok, my brain goes numb at this point. I’m told they don’t expect to find anything, it’s just a precaution. So I go home and schedule my mammo and an ultrasound of the lymph nodes in my left armpit.

Tuesday the 27th comes and I head in for the tests. The ultrasound of my armpit showed nothing of concern in the lymph nodes. The mammo on the other hand did. Time to schedule a core biopsy. They don’t expect to find anything, it’s just a precaution.

So I go home and leave a message with the hospital radiology unit about scheduling it. Then I get a call from the radiologist who read my mammo films and he wants me to come back for additional films of another area. So I end up back at the imaging center the next day for more films (a total of 12 on the left, yes ladies you can groan now) and another ultrasound of the breast. The radiologist decides that new area is ok, and I just need to biopsy the original area of concern.

So, the biopsy is set up for January 3. I get the results on Friday the 6th. They see more items of concern, something that could be nothing or it could be the beginning of cancer. I need to schedule a surgical excisional biopsy (aka lumpectomy). They don’t expect to find anything, it’s just a precaution.

I meet with the surgeon on the 9th and surgery is set for the 11th.

While everyone is telling me that I have to believe everything is going to be alright, I can’t do this. I’ve been told constantly that they don’t expect to find anything, it’s just a precaution, too many times.

The day after the surgery, I go to see my oncologist for a scheduled appointment. During the last one all the focus was on the new area of uptake and getting the mammo and ultrasound. No mention of the original lymphoma.

The first thing he asks is when I plan on having the excision? I tell him, “Yesterday. Yes, I had the surgery the day before. I add that I had hoped my next visit to the surgeon would have been to have the port removed.” He tells me he won’t have the results until Monday. This I already know. Finally, he addresses the lymphoma. I am in total remission and we are done with it. Finally some GOOD news and I think yea I can get the port out soon. Then the “but” comes. But he won’t have my port removed until after my next PET/CT in April. He wants to know that the new area of uptake is gone. I understand the reasoning, but to me that says we are not done, yet. This also now puts the proverbial final nail in coffin of my hoped for trip to Europe in April - I had already come to believe that it probably wouldn’t happen, especially if the biopsy isn’t in my favor.

Today is Monday, January 16, and I called my oncologist at 7:30 a.m. to get the results of my biopsy, as instructed. He hasn’t seen it, but looks it up online. It has come back clean, no cause for concern. He tells me to go celebrate. I can’t yet.

Yes, I’m relieved, but still feel that things won’t be DONE until my PET/CT comes back clear and I get the port removed. Only then can I celebrate.

So, I’ve gotten good news, but I’m still waiting.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Hi Janet: I am sorry your journey to be rid of cancer is so slow - it must be torture to go through all the scans, waiting, biopsy, tests, films.....
    You are an inspiration to us all. You have been so strong, focused and fit during your struggles. God Bless you and I am praying that you will soon have the good news - that YOU ARE CANCER FREE!! emoticon emoticon
    3362 days ago
  • NMMAMA2011
    Wow, what a ride you have been on. I am so so so happy to hear that you are cancer free. My mom just finished chemo for breast cancer and is now doing radiation. She went through a similar scare with a spot on her lung and it seems like she won't trust that she is cancer free until she gets a clear PET scan either. I am going to keep you in my thoughts. I re-read your Warrior Dash blog, btw.

    Do you know that you are AMAZING?

    When I read it before, my mom hadn't started her chemo yet. Now that I watched her go through 4 rounds of chemo I am absolutely floored that you did the Warrior Dash just days after your 1st chemo treatment. My observation is that chemo is harder than childbirth. It is brutal. And you leaped over flames just after doing that? Wow. Incredible!
    3404 days ago
    I cannot begin to understand your struggle. But I hope you can take the small amount of good news about the lymphoma not showing up and rejoice in the one little victory. It's the small steps that'll get you to your ultimate goal (being cancer free and no port attached). Think of this as just one step closer.
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    3407 days ago
    Keep breathing and get ready to celebrate...
    It's a big lesson in managing anticipation of whatever. I remember it and now live it yearly. It seems you are in the almost over the hump stage. Hang in there!
    3407 days ago
    Okay, young lady - you just need to go with that good news and RUN WITH IT! Rejoice in it! Your brain will create all this positive, wild energy that will help you heal, and help fight those nasty cancer cells from invading - they will feel SO unwelcome, they'll just disappear, if they haven't already. RUN WITH IT! I feel so bad for all you've been through, but feel so delighted that you have this good news to report. Just RUN WITH IT!!!! And I'll be running right behind you. emoticon
    3408 days ago
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    3408 days ago
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    Oh my gosh, you have been through so much! I had been wondering how you were doing. Hugs!!
    3408 days ago
    Janet, you are amazing!! So strong!! I am very happy for your good news!!!! Keep your chin up (like you always do) and we will keep sending prayers for your.
    3408 days ago
    Janet- I love you. I had no idea that there was so much more to what you were walking through than I knew. Please know, if you need anything (seriously, anything) at all, just ask.
    Hugs hugs hugs
    3408 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    Oh Janet, its like two steps forward and one (sometimes two) back. I am so very sorry you are going through this hell. We will continue to celebrate the positives and pray for the negatives. Please know that I am praying for you and hopefully soon we can put this thing to bed.

    3408 days ago
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