Right now, such overwhelming gratitude: For the emails and phone calls. For the blog comments and kind gestures, words of encouragement and angry WTF rants. For the prayers, the Sanskrit healing chants, the “let’s get a coffee and go stare at the ocean” protocols. For the good food and episodic envelope or baggie with a chill pill or two. All of this has helped tremendously in this sadistic waiting room we find ourselves in.
Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Grade 3. Probably the ugliest words I've ever heard strung together. I'm certainly not alone in that sentiment. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer, representing up to 85 percent of all BC diagnoses. Unfortunately, a grade 3 tumor is the most aggressive kind -- fast growing, likely to spread and recur. The good news is these high-grade tumors are supposedly very responsive to treatment. And we're digging deep to find some good news. Also, the one lymph node they biopsied came back negative. One negative node…we’ll take it!
Still, we need more good news.
...I want the tumor to be hormone receptor positive as it gives us another treatment option.
...I want to hear, with absolutely certainty, that the cancer hasn't spread. Praying for an early stage! Staging comes next, I think.
Immediate next steps...
The last time I had an MRI, I freaked out, got up on all fours and tried to back out of the machine. My acute claustrophobia, as evidenced in #2 of my "25 Things," will likely pose a problem this Tuesday when I have an MRI on lefty and the neighboring nodes. If they don’t have sedatives on hand, and you happen to be in the Mission Hill area Tuesday, you may see a crazy lady in a hospital johnny and bare feet hauling ass down Huntington Ave.
I want it right now. Today. But "they" (doc, surgeon, oncologist) have assured me that waiting up to a month won’t make much of a difference. Let’s hope so. I had my blood test for the BRAC1 or BRAC2 breast cancer gene on Friday and we (the "theys" and me) decided I should wait for the results of the test before undergoing surgery as it could change my mind on the extent of surgery, etc. This waiting is really the result of what the oncologist called my “impressive family history” of cancer. I've got to say, I found "impressive" a strange choice of adjective. I had visuals of my family members actually trying to excel at cancer; my aunts Flavia and Vinnie in a tete-a-tete, chain smoking and eating maximum-nitrate hot dogs to see who could grow the biggest tumor.
TO KEEP OR TOSS:
Aside: How surreal. One day you're in an agonizing deadlock over whether to keep or toss some pilly sweaters and smelly Uggs. The next, whether to keep or toss tangible body parts.
GENES TO KEEP:
If there is one set of genes that I hope I inherited and can keep, it's my Nana Rie’s (for more reasons than the following, btw). She got BC at age 37. This was the 1940s when it was a death sentence. She died at age 81, in perfect health, after being hit by a car on her way home from her line dancing class. And I'm certain she'd still be here had that jackass not been driving so fast.
So, if we’re dealing in genes. Gimme some of what you got, Nana!