Well, I've passed a few hurdles, post-surgery - no infection once my drains were removed, and no infection 2 weeks after surgery! (The infection started 2 weeks after my original surgery, and about 2 days after my drain was removed.) Everything is looking great; I've had two fills and we are talking about scheduling the final reconstructive surgery.
I can barely believe it...it's almost a magical turn of events. I should be ready for my final surgery around the middle of January, which is also when I will be done getting my Zometa infusions monthly (I'll go to every 3 months after the January infusion). The timing is such that I can get my port removed at the same time as I undergo that final surgery, which is great.
In another amazing turn of events, I'm writing for Trusera as a paid-stipend blogger. We definitely like getting a little stipend around here, but it does keep all of cancer-world still a little too close to me for comfort. The amazing part of all of this is not necessarily the paid-stipend part (though I like that, too!), but that my 3 month contract ends THE DAY BEFORE my one-year anniversary of diagnosis! It means within one year, I will have undergone chemotherapy and all of these surgeries (and be totally recovered, if the last one is in mid-January), my port will be gone, I'll be on Zometa every 3 months, I'll be done writing about my experience, and even Sybil will be done with her 6 rounds of chemo.
That's A LOT of stuff to have taken place in one year, but isn't it amazing that it is compactly-fitting into those 365 days? I (of course) know I will be dealing with this cancer, and my BRCA+ status, for my whole life, but I like the possibility of it being one year of utter craziness. I wouldn't even want all of my cancer stuff to go away, if I could have that happen - I have learned too much, grown, made such great friends - but it will be nice to have this chunk of it behind me!
Anyway, I am planning for my "New Year"...and thinking that I'm always going to make February 18th my own little "New Year's Day". It's my way of turning around an anniversary that could have meant a lot of sadness and bad feelings, into a day of celebration. I am proud of the person I am becoming through cancer, and thankful for my friends and family who have supported me through this. Plus, in a realistic way, each time I make it past that cancer anniversary without incident is a very big reason to celebrate...triple negative breast cancer has a higher rate of recurrence for the first 3 years. After 5 years, though, the rate of recurrence decreases dramatically...and after 8 years, some research shows that it goes to near-zero.
I don't really feel like waiting around and worrying about my cancer coming back for the next 2 and 1/4 years - 7 1/4 years, so I'm making Pam's New Year's Day count. THIS year, I begged Bill to throw his caution to the wind (now that we are almost done, we are really starting to rein in the finances which we were NOT doing 9 months ago) and to plan a fun vacation for us. He must really think I am going to live forever, because I had to really whine about it in a way I would NOT have had to whine about it 9 months ago. So, a few days after Pam's New Year we are heading off to Roatan, an island in Honduras, to swim with dolphins, snorkel, scuba dive, and be warm. (Don't you want to come celebrate Pam's New Year's Day with us? My husband can tell you how to do it for a reasonable price...)