A schedule, and how I may have saved my own life

It was a day of appointments - I got my drain out early in the afternoon at the plastic surgeon's office, and then I headed over to the oncologist where I waited for 2.5 hours for my appointment!!!!! Thank goodness for Becky Brady who had all 3 of my children for more than 3 hours today - on top of her own 3 children!
The oncologist is worth it, though...and it was his first day back from vacation so I suppose we should have expected a wait. It really wasn't bad, though, and spending all of that time alone with Bill was as close as we have come to a date in a LONG TIME, so that made it fun.
I start chemo in a little over 2 weeks - on April 17, a Thursday. I was able to choose a day and I chose Thursday for 2 reasons - first, it is one of their less busy days and second, apparently the effects of this chemo usually hit hardest about 6-7 days after you have your infusion, so I would be pretty close to a weekend where Bill could do things with the kids.
So I think this is how it will go on the weeks of chemo: Wednesday - to plastic surgeon to have my expanders filled, Thursday - chemo (it takes 3 hours) and Friday - go back to oncologist to have injection to boost my immune system. I will do this 6 times, and if everything goes right and I can go every 21 days as planned my last day will be July 31st. That's a good 8 weeks to get ready for the 3-day, and life should be really close to normal before the girls start school again in the fall. I will also have chemo on my dad's birthday and my 35th birthday this year!!!!! I suppose I could switch that but apparently the day of chemo is a pretty easy day - you are feeling your best (they don't give it to you until you are ready for the next one) and the effects don't hit yet. So Bill's 37th birthday was at U of M and my 35th will be at Beaumont, but both of those days are longer days together than we would have normally had otherwise! I am even estimating that I will lose my hair at the start of May - a more free and easy look for the spring and summer time! (Actually, I have plenty of hat-like things picked out to buy at Susan's, and the wig is already here...I just have to make an appointment to get it all cut up the perfect way.)

Now, to the other part of this post...check yourself today, people! It is becoming more and more clear that I may have saved my own life by doing that random* self exam. Today the oncologist told me that the tumor was extremely close to the chest wall (breast surgeon told me this), and touching the fascia. If it had gotten through the fascia I would have been in some serious trouble. The oncologist also told me that a lesser surgeon might not have gone ahead and removed the fascia - so I felt very good about my surgeon today, and glad that I found the tumor before it had gotten any bigger! I also learned that my tumor had vascular invasion, which means it had access to my blood vessels (bad) but it had not yet moved to the lymph nodes (extra lucky). If I had not checked myself right about when I did, my news might have been more scary and my prognosis worse. Now of course I am still treating myself/being treated as aggressively as I possibly can...but my prognosis is just better. I also love hearing that I had "a small tumor". Funny what can make you happy, under the circumstances!

*I don't really think my self exam was random, by the way. About 6 weeks prior to it I was rushing around in the basement in the dark like the brain that I am, and I had a freak accident where I tripped over something and slammed my chest into something else. My chest hurt for a while, and I was on a trip in Disney when I had the idea to feel around and see if I was healing...and then I felt the lump. I really thought I had just bruised myself. My actual thoughts about this whole thing is that I had the freak fall and felt compelled to check myself because either God or my mother was trying to make me notice something that had the potential to become much more problematic, and soon!

1 comment:

Kendra said...

Hi Pam. I like the post... I tell ya, God works in ways we can't even imagine. For me, I was ignoring my symptoms of colon cancer and passing them off as hemmorrids and the colon cancer commercial that would come on everytime I watched tv...but it was my husband and co-workers that urged me to see a Dr. cause I just didn't "look well" and I felt not myself...if I would have waited any longer my situation could have been worse. God is good in his timing isn't he:-)