Note: We are one week from Christmas. My tree remains undecorated. Gifts, unpurchased (except for a few things I did online YESTERDAY). Me, unglued. Facing a deadline. A hard deadline. A fixed date on a calendar. Yes, there are good reasons and I'm only going to highlight the three that have directly impacted me last week.
I began this blog in July of 2011. If you blog, you understand what it means to read a comment. That first comment. Technically, it was the second comment but the comment let me know someone was reading my blog every day. And, enjoying it. If I go through my gazillions of email chats between my mentor and me, I am certain I will find an overjoyed email I sent to her when I realized at least one person could relate to this blog. If you don't blog, Julie and Julia. The movie. She captures that first comment experience pretty well. When it wasn't a comment from her mom.
That's the foundation. This is going to ramble and wind because I'm on a roller coaster. Fair warning. And advance apologies but I just have to get this out......
Many of you are aware of my mom's ongoing PET/CT scans. It was a lung thing, then it was a lymph node, then, a cracked rib. Some of you may know I have two sisters. One of them, cancer. The other, a biopsy over 3 years ago. I am the keeper of the pathology reports which I have at my side. "Hyperplasia bordering on DCIS, wall of blood vessel....." That's the sister without cancer. That's my family. We are all okay. Hypervigilant. But OK.
Last week, my mom and my sister had follow up scans. Then, there's Barb. The first comment. Now, she's my friend Barb.....the first person who let me know she was in my life.... beyond this screen......that I was not simply talking to myself as the words flew off my fingers.
Barb sent me a message that she had to go see her doctor about something that was on a scan. I was terribly upset when I saw her note. I asked her to please call me when she got back from the doctor on Wednesday. Mom's PET scan was Wednesday. We spoke and I was satisfied things were stable with that "broken rib from a million years ago" as the doctor had not called her. Imaging is generally an immediate phone call. Unless, it's not. So much for the presuming stuff.
Then, I spoke to Barb who DID call me when she got home. The news didn't sound wonderful, but I was hopeful. Biopsy was scheduled for Friday. She promised her husband would text me on Friday to let me know what was happening. That was Wednesday.
Thursday, I still felt lousy from whatever bug drop kicked me with that fever but I can tell you I felt far lousier when I heard from my mom. "I have to go for a bone biopsy. The thing on my rib is slightly different." That was in an email. Why? So she could "tell" all of us at once. Even though she knew she'd still have to speak to the five of us. There would be no pecking order with the phone calls. Called mom, got all of the info including doctor speak, "I need to know what this is so I can treat it properly."
I'm trying to refrain from making a list of 900 questions because I want it to be nothing. And, one thing I HAVE learned, don't presume anything. And, in case I forgot about the presuming stuff, I didn't have to go too far back in time for a reminder. I'm not going to spin like a top making a list of questions. He better come out of left field with, "arthritis" .... "You aren't going anywhere for a long time, this is treatable." I know he's right, but still.... arthritis sounds much better than a bone thing. And thus ends Thursday.
Friday I got the promised text from Barb's husband to let me know procedure is done, more details later. The details would come in the form of a phone call from Barb. Before I spoke to Barb, my sister called. There was a calcification six months ago. She wanted it out. They assured her, "not necessary" and now, "it has to come out, it looks 'coarser'." I have NO idea what the hell that means but my sister is a smart cookie. "I'm sure it's got jagged edges and that's what she means." Bottom line, she needs a surgical biopsy. In other words, another lumpectomy. Same breast, same general vicinity of the "bordering on DCIS" from three years prior. WTF???? SHE started peppering me with questions. "IF it's something, how long is the recovery." Once we established she would have "downtime" between "things" if something is "not right" we were able to dispense of that conversation.
Me? I was/am REELING. Both of them in operating rooms in MSKCC within the next ten days? My sister, in an effort to infuse some comic relief (or maybe she was serious) thought she should have them tie the charts together and schedule both of them for the same day. So I sit in limbo waiting for dates. Mom did her pre-surgical testing today. No date yet. My sister has a tentative date of December 26th. I'll be having a meltdown. Or not. I may be relieved that Christmas is 364 days away. Right now, I just want answers. Does my sister have cancer so she can join the rest of us with an earlier onset breast cancer? Does my mom have a cancerous spot on her rib?
And yet.....Friday wasn't quite finished with me. Barb called when she was on her way home from the hospital and this simply broke my heart. The only reason I am sharing here is because Barb outed herself on twitter last night. Monday night. Tweet chat... and I saw her name and I asked her if she was going to give anyone details of the why she had a bad week. This is what she said:
Sure @chemobrainfogIt's back... found reoccurance in ovaries and pelvic bone. waiting for treatment plan #bcsm
— Barb Bristow (@BarbBristow) December 18, 2012
From the bottom of MY heart, I want to thank everyone on twitter for immediately jumping in and sending love and support Barb's way. She's new to twitter so IF you're a twitter person, please follow Barb and be on the lookout for any tweets with that Bat Signal hashtag.
And thank you all for offering your kind words to me because I'm in the middle of a wave of stuff that THINKS it's gonna knock me down. I may falter, I may fall but I WILL get up. Every. Single. Time. Just watch.
Everyone who left comments here yesterday, I read them all.... I'm just a bit distracted as you might be able to tell......
And, everyone whose head is spinning because this is possibly the most incoherent gibberish I have ever had the audacity to call a "blogpost"..... apologies. I can't think straight. By the same token, I wanted to clarify all the cloak and dagger vagueness that seems to have shrouded every post for almost a week.