21 January 2009


I'm quickly learning that every test in cancerland takes 24-48 hours to yield results. That doesn't include weekends, though. So, if you get a test on a Friday, you should not entertain any delusions about getting answers within 24-48 hours. You've got to sweat it out doubletime. So, I guess the logic behind closing all labs down on the weekends is that cancer doesn't spread on Saturdays and Sundays. After dividing and multiplying all week long, the cancer rests on the 6th and 7th days. And on holidays too apparently.

I'm impatient by nature and my anticipation is only exacerbated by the fact that there are life or death decisions hanging in the balance. This is not like waiting for a check to clear! Business days are irrelevant to the cancer patient who wants to know what she's dealing with.

That said, we got more bad news today. Our prayers were not answered on lymph nodes or hormone receptor status. In fact, we got a few extra surprises that we didn't want.

Verdict: The MRI revealed a 10-centimeter mass chock full of blood vessels that are surrounding, coddling and feeding this MF 1.7 cm tumor. (Picture a big mama with a million nipples feeding this odious thing) The MRI also showed "significant lymph node involvement" so I guess that one negative node was nothing to hang our hats on. Also, the tumor is hormone receptor negative, which means we can kiss that avenue of treatment goodbye. I will likely be kissing Lefty goodbye at some point, but at this point, I'm almost eager to do so.

According to the docs, I have HER2+ breast cancer which is the most aggressive kind you can get. Just a few years ago, HER2 was a death sentence but today -- thankfully -- they have a drug called Herceptin that has been very effective and gives HER2-ers the same shot as people with normal breast cancer. Still, because of the aggressive nature of the cancer, I will likely have to have chemo before and after surgery.

Aside: I've decided it's time to frontload the good times. Let's have some fun before I lose my hair and eyebrows and have to crayon on some Cholas.

Next steps: I have my abdominal, pelvic and chest scans tomorrow and a bone scan on Friday. I had to practically threaten a terrorist attack to get these appointments. After dropping bomb after bad-news bomb on me, the doc (not my doc) proceeded to tell me that my oncologist was out sick until Monday (apparently cancer cells stop spreading when your oncologist is out sick too) and I should follow up with her to schedule my scans, which at this point are booking out until early February.

My response to this was something like: no fucking fuckety fuck fuck fuck way, motherfucker.

Lesson learned: It never hurts to throw a rabid, profanity-laced tirade about standards of healthcare. Moments later, appointments magically opened up for tomorrow and Friday. I have a feeling there may be a police escort when I arrive, however.

Still, all this anger is NOT good for the tumor. That's my going to be my new mantra and I think it's going to come in handy. If someone is bothering me: "Please walk away, your bad energy is not good for the tumor." "Please piss off, your sourpuss is not good for the tumor."

Ugh. I've unraveled. I started writing this blog earlier about the positive forces in my life and the serendipitous ones that have cropped up - at the perfect time -- along the way. This morning, I posted my Facebook status as "up for the fight." This was before I got the news. The news literally brought me to my knees and rattled my faith today. So, tonight I'll knock myself out (Lost will be TiVoed) and wake up with a better attitude, a fighting attitude again tomorrow.

Aside: I still can't reconcile how I can be walking around, feeling as fantastic as I do, and be as sick as they tell me I am!

Call for prayers: Please pray this MF hasn't spread too much, especially to my organs. We're overdue for some good news. Throw us a bone!

*James came up with the title for this post. It says it all.


Roving Lemon said...

Fuck fuck fuck fuck. I wonder if a rabid, profanity-laced tirade would work on The Guy Upstairs? I'll keep praying, but it's going to have a lot of bad words in it today.


Anonymous said...

Fuck. Fuckety Fuck.

Kate...I am telling you. I may have fooled a few with a bit education and perhaps a little finishing at The Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart but believe me when i tell you I am and always will be a SOUTHIE BROAD at the core and if you need some muscle I will be there is a New York minute.

I am around and can be there as soon as tomorrow if you need back up.

Let me know...Amy

Nic said...

Fucking Mother Fucker of ALL Mother Fuckers.....lost for words but have tons of faith that you'll fight this Kate. I'll be there to finish off the F'ers (after Amy is done with them) - got some karate moves I'll use if necessary....make sure they give you the results there and then....no more weekend retreats for the medical staff

If you need support, I can go.


Dawn said...

Kate! I just don't know what to say....you're right, everyone needs to stay positive. I know it's easier said than done.

We love you and we're thinking of you, James, Caroline, Paulie and Vito too =) EVERYDAY!!!


Anonymous said...

Hang in there Kate. And drop all the "Fucks" you want, you deserve a little tirade. Many many prayers headed your way girl. I love James' title pick - we'll see what we ol' weymouth pals can come up with.


Anonymous said...

Goddamnit. Just when I am filled with hope at Bama closing Gitmo this crap hits. IF you need some muscle to force those jackasses to give you the appts you need, you know the winchester girls can get it done. Every inch of strength thrown at you right now. And the hope (and there is still room for lots of it) for future good news.

KT said...

What the fuck!?!!!! It's so fucking unfair. So unbelievably unfair. I honestly can't believe it. We are calling in the big Taylor guns. We are all sending you tons of love and healing energy! I hope you are sleeping now and wake up well-rested and ready to hit it head-on. And please call if you want company at your appointments. I'm doin' a whole bunch of nothin' and I'll wear my pointy kick-ass boots! (...and bring Vicadin).
Love you, girl.

Code Red said...

Kate...if I have to haul ass over to the Brigham tomorrow in my gi and Goshin #6 somebody's ass until they get you what you need, when you need it, I'll do it. There's no excuse for the doc to suggest that you wait til early Feb. for your scans! I'm glad your profanity-laced tirade resulted in some quick appointments. I'm around all day tomorrow if you need anything...and I'm thinking of you. Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Kate, I'm off to PubMed now to learn what I can about HER2 and your therapy. Any info or questions you want or have, I can play backup for Dr. Nic. Your feisty spirit and strength are already shining through. You are so much stronger than the MFer. xoxoooooo, Dr. g.

Anonymous said...

You make me laugh and cry at the same time. Know we are all here to kick some ass with you. Love to you all.


bg said...

Kate – looks like the big man upstairs threw you a curve ball. Actually more like a gyro ball. I have to admit that walking to work this morning seemed like 30 minutes of my life that didn’t happen – I barely realized I did it until I was walking past the WTC Silver Line stop. All I could do was think about you, your family and that damn lump. But I also thought of this – you will prevail. You will beat this. And one day when it’s all over, you and James and everyone else will talk about how you flushed that lumpy piece of crap down the hospital toilet. I’m here, we’re all here to help. Take advantage of us.

Love - Brownman

P.S. - my word verification for this comment is "boomania". Boo is right.

Anonymous said...

Kate, I don't know you, but have read your blog for a long time. My son is Caroline's age. My worst nightmare has become your reality. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and though I've had my first mammo already (am just 35), I'm ready to cut them both off because I am terrified of the disease.

My head is in my hands right now - as I am sure many of us readers who never comment are doing. I feel like I know you and am scared for you. I am praying for you and all those fighting this miserable disease.

You can do it! You are positive, motivated and you have a lot, a lot, a lot to live for!

Hang in there. Fight the fight!!

We'll be anxiously waiting for the next post. I hope it's the good news we all know you deserve!

lpd said...

Nothing but love for you, baby. Whatever you want, whatever you need, wherever, whenever...you've got an army of friends and loved ones. And an army is what you'll need right now. Lean on us, please. Let's kick this things ass.

Love you tremendously,

Anonymous said...

I am in awe of you and your strength (as usual). We are going to beat the BEATCH down.

Sending much love and cover tunes your way. Good Lucky today!

KC aka GOY

Anonymous said...

Kate - I just wanted to let you know that I have you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. You will beat this!!

Love PG

Anonymous said...

KJ...here for you AAA..Mama G.

Bean Down Under said...

KJ - Some advice from someone who has had to deal with the medical professionals. Throwing in an f-bomb or multiple f-bombs does get one to the front of the line. You have to be your best advocate. When they say 'no' you say 'yes'. Don't talk to the receptionist - have the Dr. make the appointment.

My motto when people asked me 'how I did it' was to say 'I have two choices. I can sit here and cry all day or I can laugh and enjoy the day. And laughing feels alot better than crying.'. Although laughing may not be in the cards at this time its the frame of mind that is important!

Anonymous said...

Was listening to the 80's station on satellite radio and "Word Up" was playing, I thought of you and the silly hand guesture that I believe was conjured up by you or Tracy. It made me smile. I then prayed a bit, which apparently went unanswered. God better check his inbox, it getting full of thoughts and prayers for you and your family. More prayers are coming your way, let's hope he diverts his attention from the goings-on in Wash D.C. long enough to answer them.


Anonymous said...

Kate, You are going to beat this thing to a pulp. I know it. If you need anything - I am here for you and your family. I am praying....

After you kick this cancer's ass - let's grab that bottle of vodka and go sledding....

Tracy O.

Anonymous said...

Kate, Even though we aren't near by, our love, prayers and cancer kicking strength are right there with you!!! This is total crap!!!!

Don't make me break out the foam finger to cheer you on! You know I will!!!

We love you!
Dayna and Billy

Diana said...

When you feel like you've lost the strength to fight, then I will give you all of mine. And when that's no longer there, you can have LP's, Celine's, Goy's, Jess's, KT's, Nic's, Annie's, Dreama's, Gwenn's, Giana's... and the list goes on and on and on. You will be strong and you WILL WIN this fight. I know it in my heart.

Love you, xoxo

Anonymous said...

"18. I feel helpless about my loved ones (and friends of loved ones) who are going through some terrible times right now."

Me, too, kid.

Love you. Prayers, swears, whatever it takes. Whatever might work. Love the whole; hate the MF. Love God; hate what manifests.

Que sera, and mean it. The only way to face forward. Be there for your kids. They, above all, are what matters. They are you...good genes and bad.

Love you.

Tim Griffin said...


You are a beacon of light for many in this life and will continue to be as you fight. Your strength permeates through each of us and in return we offer our positive energy, focus and friendship. Call on us now for what ever you want/need.


Anonymous said...

“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell.” - Lance Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Kate -

Your in our thoughts and in our hearts.

I think Michael Jackson said it best...Just Beat It!

We love you.

The Burkes - B.J. Bob et al

Anonymous said...


While I read your latest, I noted the good news, like:

(1) your tirade yielded immediate results and accelerated your treatment;

(2) you're angry and that anger is focused on this challenge and that this challenge WILL be met;

(3) that you still feel good and feeling good can only help you fight this thing;

(4) that your family and friends are right here with you; and

(5) although it may have been shaken, your faith was not lost.

All of our love
Jackie, Pete, Sara, Allison, Emily and Charlie.

Heather said...

OMG!!! And here I am bitching about an infection in my original surgical site. Hang in there, girlfriend.