Wednesday, July 27, 2011

March 31st, 2011 - This is mostly for me, it may be depressing. Feel free not to read this.

Yesterday was a bitch of a day. First mom and I went to the hospital to meet with the surgeon. She examined my incision, felt to see if my lymph nodes were swollen, and answered a bunch of questions that I have written down. She was very nice, but in a no bullshit way. She said right now I have at least stage II cancer and it could go up depending on the results from the surgery, which is next Thursday. I will get the path results 3-4 days afterwards while I'm still healing. She showed me how big the incision is going to be and it's about three times as long as it was before. How far down depends on what they find once they get in there. The surgery will be outpatient and I won't be intubated, but I will be out. It's some kind of mask they put over my face that knocks me out.

The bad part, at least for me, is that I have to go in the day before surgery for pre-op blood work and to talk to the anesthesiologist, and I have to have lymphocintigraphy done. What is lymphocintigraphy, you ask? Well they're gonna take a couple of needles and inject me in my STILL HEALING incision site with radioactive dye that will tell them which lymph node my mole drains to, and which node to biopsy. I asked my surgeon will it hurt, she looked me right in the eye and said "Yep". Oh great, thanks. I asked if I could have a little lidocaine before the injection, and they said no, it might interfere with the test results. Sounds like someone's a little masochistic fucker to me, excuse my french. I figure if the dude giving me the injection lets me hold his nuts, and I'll twist them each time he hurts me, I bet you anything he'd find a way to give me some lidocaine. Asshole.

Sorry. I'm more terrified of this lymphocintigraphy than I am of the damn surgery. After they stick me, I have to lay down while some big machine scans me. hour or two. Grrrreat. Just like another MRI. Why can't they knock me out for this? Because it would make it all too easy.

So when I wake up in recovery, I will have a big incision on my upper chest horizontally, and I will have another small incision wherever my lymph node was. They remove it and do a "Sentinal Node Biopsy" meaning they test it for cancer. That will also tell them what stage I'm at, and what my oncologist needs to do in terms of treatment.

So after I got all that happy news, I had some lady following me in the halls wanting to meet with me. She represented some science department of the hospital that does testing on cancerous tissue, trying to find better treatments, and she wanted to know if I would donate my excess tissue to them. So of course I said sure and signed all the papers. I mean, it's not like I'm gonna ask for my excess tissue after the surgery. Can you believe some people actually do? That's just weird....and gross.

By the time I left the hospital I had so many papers they had to give me a folder to keep them all in.

I cried only once, thinking about the needle injection.

Then onto the Cancer Pavilion next door to meet with the oncologist, and Mom said "This is gonna be the hard part" and I was like "WTF? If it's any worse, I'm gonna kill someone". The doctor was an older man, about my dad's age, and he examined me (again) and felt my lymph nodes (again), made me fill out tons of forms (again), and talked to me about treatment options. I told him I was at least a stage II right now and I asked him about survival rates for that, he wouldn't give me a figure, but he did say a recurrence rate for stage II is %30, so Mom says that means a survival rate is at least %70 if not better. He talked to me about Interferon treatment which he's not a big fan of. He says it makes you sick like having the flu, and the treatment lasts a year. A YEAR of having the flu....OMG. Luckily we've both decided I won't be going that route. Of course this is all depending on the path results from my lymph node. We might decide to just observe me depending on the results, or he also mentioned some new clinical trials too.

My surgeon says I have a %40 chance of the cancer having already spread to my lymph nodes. So... %60 of a good outcome??? Please??

I swear if my biopsy comes back good I won't ask for anything ever again for myself. No Christmas presents, no Birthday presents, nothing, just a nice clear lymph node.

I'm so scared and stressed right now, I can't imagine going through another week leading up to this. How the hell am I gonna do this? I told my boss what was going on, and to her credit she told me to take whatever time I need, work when I want, don't work when I don't want to, and just get past this whole thing. Is that great or what?

But oh my god. The panic... The fear of pain, the fear of I'm about to have something serious done to my body and I have no freaking clue of the pain I'm in for, Then there's the fear of the results... what stage am I? All I had was a little freakin mole!!!

Ok let's just say it. I don't want to die. Not yet. I don't want to cause my family that pain. I love my family. I love my kitties, I love music, books, movies, my iPod. I love the sky when it's about to storm. I still haven't seen snow. I have to see snow.


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