03 October 2009

Taking a drink with a Firehose

My brain has been flooded with information.

Yesterday Doug and I went to my follow up appointment with Dr. Hamad. She went over the results of the pathology report. Preliminary diagnosis: invasive ductal carcinoma. Well, we knew that I guess, but that is the medical name for the type of invasive breast cancer that I have. There isn't much more to say until after I have my MRI, early on Monday morning. This is where they can determine the size of the tumor and if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes around the breast, or anywhere else for that matter. It will also indicate if there are any beginnings of cancer in my left breast.

This is just part of the information that is needed in order to make a treatment plan. There are other factors, but I am not sure I could explain them yet. The facts are I will at the very least require surgery and chemotherapy. The unknown until all the information is in is whether the chemo starts first to shrink the tumor and then have surgery. Or, have surgery first followed by chemotherapy. Either way, by the time Michael gets married in mid-December, I will have no hair! Radiation is a strong possibility, but again, there is much more information needed to decide that.

After we spend a great deal of time together, we were taken by the nurse to a room to schedule all the appointments for the next week. Today I met with the Radiation Oncologist. Monday is the MRI. Wednesday is both the Medical Oncologist (chemo doctor) and the Plastic Surgeon (for reconstruction). I also did a test to determine if there is a genetic factor to my cancer, which tells them even more about how to treat it. This was probably the most pleasant test I will ever have. I swished with SCOPE mouthwash for 30 seconds, two separate times, and spit it into a cylinder. They use my saliva for the gene testing. I had minty fresh breath when that was done.

I spent a lot of the day on the telephone talking to different people. It was exhausting telling the tale again and again. But, people are concerned and they want to know what is going on. May I remind you also that we are in the process of moving and I have a giant wedding cake along with a groom's cake to complete for Saturday. Oh, and I had to go withdraw Alex from West Cary Middle School so I could enroll him at Holly Ridge Middle School. Exhausting day!

Today was also insane. I really felt the stress of the move and the diagnosis and came close to breaking down several times. My daughter Catherine was with me all of the day and she was a great support to me. It's almost 1:00 in the morning, and I just finished the artwork on the groom's cake. I am tired.

I still have not just had a good hard cry, but I could totally feel it coming on this afternoon.

I have been up and down like a roller coaster ride. Those who know me know that I am NOT a roller coaster person. I hate that feeling in your stomach. It is not fun. THIS is not fun.

At the Radiation Oncologist I learned the side effects of radiation. I was told so many things. But, I left feeling like I was going to need it eventually, probably in the spring, as it will likely be the last of the three types of treatments.

Blah, blah, blah....this is so boring....

Here's the best part of the day.....all the LOVE from so many people!!!

My daughter, Catherine...oh how I felt her love as she filled out all the forms for me at the middle school and at the oncologists office. Not to mention just going with me everywhere else today.

Wendy Holladay, my friend and visiting teacher...who drove the closing papers from our house in Morrisville to the new house in Fuquay because I had forgotten to take them with me so that I had proof of residence to enroll Alex in his new school.

The guidance counselor at Holly Ridge...who was so understanding about having to hurry through the process so that I could get to my doctor's appointment as "on time" as possible.

The receptionist and nurse at Wake Oncology Radiology... who helped me feel so relaxed when I was 7 minutes late to my appointment. They said "you're not late.....45 minutes...THAT's late".

The nice sales man at BIG LOTS...who made sure to mention that the table and chairs that I was purchasing was being discontinued. I was only going to get the table with 4 chairs and gradually add the other 4 chairs. If I had waited, when I went back they would have been gone and I would not have had a matching set.

The Pulsipher Family...for bringing dinner tonight. (and let's not fail to mention all the other dinners provided this week by Mary Ann Pillar, Jennifer Kennedy, Wendy Holladay and Beth Allred.)

My husband, Douglas, my children and spouses (Christian and Mary, Catherine and Bryan, Mark, Daniel and Alex)... who worked so hard today and before today moving items from one house to another.

My daughter Elizabeth...because although it is not possible for her to be here to help, she wishes she could be here.

My dear friend Leann...who just returned from Utah and called me right away when she heard, even though she has her own trial right now.

My sisters JoAnn and Fran...who I finally got to speak with. For their love and prayers.

My mom...who always calls to see how things went. And, while I am at it, for all the days she came and stood and washed dishes and cake pans for hours during the busiest cake weeks this summer.

Kim Bloomfield...who offered to help save me from the ton of cake work that MUST be done this month for all the brides who are expecting a wedding cake in October.

Amelia Bogess...for helping me finish packing the kitchen

There are probably others...but my brain is tired and I cannot think anymore.

I am overwhelmed by the love of my friends and family.

I wish there was a better word than "thank you"

I love you all.


Mamma Whitesides said...

I am a friend of a friend(Charlotte Erickson) of your daughters. She passed on your blog since she knew that I had just gone through what you are going through. I finished all my treatments at the end of August and am trying to get back to life as we know it. I have a blog ( I haven't updated it for awhile but you may want to read my experiences...whitesidesfam.blogspot.com.

What I really want to tell you is that this time which feels very overwhelming and like it is going to take along time to get through, is really only a few months, and you will get through it like a champ!!! You have amazing support and love all around you which will help you to get through this tough time, Good Luck to you and I will be praying for you!!!

Your Genevieve sister in hope,
Jenifer Whitesides

ehammon said...

Sally, I love you. Thank you for making your blog public to keep all of us updated. Over the past 9 years I have watched you bear your trials with patience and cheerfulness. I respect and adore you! This quote reminded me of you. "Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine. Merriment - it is the sunny side of existence." - Lord Bryon You are one of my personal heroes. (Right up there with Patti Maxwell :'). Love, Ellen and the rest of the Hammon Crew.

Heidi said...

Sally, I want you to know that you and your family are in my prayers! I love you !

Leann said...

You have such a way with words. I love being able to read your blog; it strengthens me. And thank you for the idea of creating a blog to chronicle your thoughts and journey. We are already feeling the blessings of doing our own.

I sure do love you!

tiffinlv said...

Wishing you strength and blessings on this journey . . . and lots of love!

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