Monday, October 5, 2009

post it notes and life changes


I like to jot notes and lists down on post it notes and stick them to my phone or wallet or in my pocket. Grocery lists, to do lists, xmas lists, whatever. It is getting colder now and just pulled out a pair of jeans that I haven't worn since my last day of work. That was June 25th. In the pocket I found a post it note with a list of stuff to do before my sister and her family got here on the 27th for a week of fun. We were headed to southern utah for most of their visit and had lots of fun things planned. After their trip I was planning to try and find temp work for a couple of months while working out hard in the gym to prepare for school in the fall. After debating for several years what I wanted to do with my life I had finally decided to go back to school and had signed up for classes. This was a big deal for me. I hate school and I hate not making money. I hate sitting in a classroom. I like doing things. There are a few things that I really love. Flowers, sports and cars. Flowers don't pay the bills. Sports, well I have contemplated going back to school years ago when I found out about physical therapy. I took a few classes and put in some volunteer hours at the hospital and sports clinic but I just didn't want to go back to school and I fell into something else instead. So that leaves cars. I have always loved classic cars and trucks. I discovered that auto body school was much more doing than sitting in a classroom. I decided to go for it. I was a little nervous. I knew this was going to be hard on my body. Especially a diabetic body whose joints are starting to go. And it is a mans world. But I figured I would give it a shot.

June 26th. This was the day of my first mammogram. I wasn't really nervous about it. I felt fine. Just going in for a routine exam. I was also going in to get an ultrasound of my thyroid. My doc thought it was ok but just wanted to make sure. I have a goiter in my neck from my broken thyroid. So at the hospital, walking from one appt to the other I had a few seconds of a panic attack. What if they find something? I wasn't even worried about the breasts. I was naive at the time. My dad had breast cancer but I didn't know what a big deal that was at the time. I also did not know that my grandfather and two aunts had bc as well. I knew we had cancer on both sides of the family. My mother died from bile duct cancer and her brother died from colon cancer. My dad's brother died from stomach cancer. Getting cancer was not something totally unexpected. But I didn't know what brca was. I didn't know what kind of decisions people had to face. I thought you get cancer, you do what the docs tell you and you fight it. Maybe I am having a hard time because I'm not scared enough. I just had a little bitty baby cancer. Nothing that is going to kill me. I think most of my fear is from years of worrying as a diabetic about amputation. I grew up terrified that I would lose a limb. Losing my boobs would not be nearly as bad as an arm or leg but it still sounds like amputation to me. Yes, I can get new ones but they won't work the same. And you want my ovaries too? The tods are 4/4 on that one. They don't even try and sugarcoat it. Even if I don't ask their opinions they just come right out and say it as if I am taking a poll.

June 29th. I am trying to pack the truck and get out of town. The breast center calls and would like me to come back in so they can take another look at my left boob. I say I am on vacation and will come in next week. It is starting to sink in now. Could be nothing but I think it is probably something. That is the way my head works. My faith is not strong.

July 7th. I go back in for more mammos. Turns out they already know what is in store for me but for some reason they don't tell you over the phone. They see calcifications and want to take more pics of it. They already knew I would need a biopsy. But they tell me don't worry, 80% of the time it is nothing. They tell me this again on July 14th, at my biopsy. July 15th they tell me sorry but we did find dcis. Please talk to your doctor and she can refer you to a surgeon. July 15th, my brother's bday. How fitting, I was diagnosed with diabetes on my mother's bday.

July 17th. Saw the surgeon. As soon as I mentioned my family history (which I now knew) my surgeon started talking about brca. Wanted me to get tested. Said I could wait a month for surgery and get a bilateral mastectomy. What???? WTF. No. I agreed to be tested but said I wanted the lumpectomy please. I took my lump and two days later see her again. She is pleased by how well I am healing. Then tells me and my dw that my margins are not clear and she needs to go in again. Says it is unfortunate, only happens about 20% of the time. But my cancer is hard to get at. Mentions the bm again. Still don't want it but I think she is trying to warn me that if she can't get clear margins this time I will not have an option. This time my margins are clear but my boob is not happy. So swollen and every color of the rainbow. Feels like they put a rock in it. I have a hematoma. Much smaller now but still there after two months. Doc says it will go away in 3-6 months.

Oct 5th. I sit here and wait for call backs from two of my docs. I am waiting for my ca125 results from 3 weeks ago and my mri results from last week. At the very least, I know my surgeon can pull the results for me on Wednesday when I see her. She wants me to come in now and see her. I wasn't supposed to go in til Nov. I think she may have found out I didn't start radiation. She probably wants to know what I'm going to do. I want to know what I'm going to do too. I think she can help me talk through my reasoning and keep the fear and emotion out of it.

Back to my life changes. I dropped my classes. I was not going to be physically ready what with not being in the gym most of July. And I was not mentally ready for school. Plus, I think I would rather work with people instead of cars. I have had many great people helping me and it means so much. I am rethinking the pt thing again. Just need to bite the bullet and go back to school.

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