Tuesday, December 17, 2013

what's one more lymph node?

i met with the radiologist yesterday ahead of my next stage of treatment, which is 25 sessions of radiation.

well... most likely 25, said the radiologist.

'what would change that?' i asked.

he then told me how the PET scan i took way back when showed some 'activity' (activity equaling cancer) in a lymph node near my sternum.

uh? what? how is it possible that i've been to an umpteen number of doctor/surgeon/chemo/nurse/physical therapy/social worker appointments since that PET scan and no one mentioned that lymph node to me until today!?  (alright, i'll let the physical therapist off the hook for that one.)

so... ugh.  one more lymph node.  from what i can tell, from how he explained it, it's a lymph node within the region of the breast, so it's just a part of my cancer's 'regional' spread.  from what i can tell, it might put me in a slightly worse category of stage 3.  when he said it to me though it was like being forced to take a step closer to edge of cancer cliff, but really, i've been that close all along, i just didn't know it until yesterday.  and really, it's not such bad news.  it doesn't change how i've been doing since my diagnosis, since that PET scan, since two minutes before he told me and yet, there's something about getting cancer news... when it's anything less than great, it sort of feels like cancer scored a point and you got a punch to the gut.

so how would that lymph node change the 25 doses of radiation i'll get?  well, sometime after the new year i'll go in and have a CT scan.  if that area shows up on the scan, i'll be the lucky recipient of some extra radiation.  the idea of the CT scan has my mind spinning fast.  it's not the lymph node.  i don't want that to be there, of course, but i really don't want something worse to be there.  and there's no reason something worse should be there, save for my statistical proximity to that cliff, but the odds weren't even with me to get cancer in the first place, so, i'm feeling a little snakebitten.  and i've never gotten over this tight feeling in my chest... so i think a little about my lungs... but i hope that's just stress.

so, i can't leave you with such a downer blogpost.  i can't leave myself that way.  honestly, nothing bad has happened to me, save for the obvious cancer diagnosis, but that happened over six months ago, so that's old news.  it's nearly christmas and i'm so excited for that.  i think santa's going to bring us a slackline!  if you don't know what that is, go to youtube and type it in.  i have high hopes for henry.  he already shows great potential in the fearless, stunt, and hard head departments, so i figure all he has to do is work on his balance.

also we're going to vienna!  we're going with greg's parents.  his dad's here now and his mom gets in on thursday... just enough time to unpack her bags before getting back on the plane.  the physical therapist... that blameless one i talked about above, said it's so american to just pick up and leave like that for a few days, like it's nothing.  probably it is, but why not?  we have a few days right before christmas, we're in europe.  i can't say the weather will be any better, but the food will be different and the christmas markets, the music, the white horses... it'll be good.  maybe i'll even take some pictures and put them up on the blog!

and if i don't say it before then, merry christmas, happy holidays! life is good, that's why we love it so much.


nina said...

Well now, I'm thinking the reason no one mentioned it to you before is that they did not regard it as a big deal or a game changer. But you are right -- putting words to it feels different. Even though it's not.

About Vienna -- BE SURE to find your favorite hot chocolate place and indulge! Especially with sacher torte or even better -- warm apple strudel with whipped cream!

Judy said...

So many ups and downs. Here's hoping 2014 is filled with many, many ups!

Phyllis Noble said...

Yea for Vienna! Three cheers for Christmas and Santa and visions of slacklines. I did, just now, look at a couple of YouTubes. Way cool.

Big hugs to you. We'll be thinking of you as you confront the scary stuff in January. Meanwhile, revel in the whipped cream! Merry Christmas!

Jayview said...

Have just had another test result myself (arteries not cancer) that reminds me if the saying 'there's no such thing as a healthy person, only an under investigated one'. I think we need to hang into our own sense of ourselves don't you? Best wishes for a magical time in Vienna. Jean

Maureen said...

Vienna is so magical and what a great time of year to go - yay!

Punch back with your fighting attitude.

We love you all!!!

Mandy Indonesia said...

I’m glad to read you again. Thanks for this post. Best for you Buddy! Merry Christmas and Happ New year