And that's the "Breast" of the story!

OK – I’ve entered a new phase. Even though when I speak the words, “I have cancer,” it still seems to come out of someone else’s mouth whose voice just happens to sound like mine. It is still very surreal and at times I literally forget what is going on inside my body. I know there’s a struggle there but sometimes the fight seems to be in my mind more than in my body.
Last week was a busy and rather tough week. On Monday I went in for a bone scan. I was told the scan wouldn’t take long so since it was scheduled for 12:30 I figured I would be through by 1:00 or 1:30 – NOT! What I wasn’t told is that at 12:30 I would be ushered back to “Nookyaler Medicine” for another injection of that “glow in the dark” stuff. Well, I didn’t really glow but evidently my bones did when the scan was done. The part that surprised me was that I had to wait for two hours after the injection before the scan could be done. That way the dye that was injected had time to “travel” to where ever the travel agent man sent it. I was able to leave the hospital during those two hours so I took a little side trip to Buffalo Gap where I could walk around, enjoy being out of doors, and shoot a few pictures, too. I reported back to the hospital right on time but still had to wait about another hour since they had now gotten behind – oh, well – stuff happens. Once on the scan table I had to hold perfectly still while the camera did it’s “thang.” That proved to be a challenge since I really needed to go to the bathroom by now and I was in agony before the 18 minutes were up. Once released I headed the old Suburban north.
Tuesday I worked like a dog to get the paper done in a timely manner. Thank God for my Crystal girl and also to those who sent in photos and articles for the paper. They made it much easier and Crystal had a ton of work done. I finished about 9:00 p.m. and headed home to watch “American Idol” eat all I could possibly devour since I had to fast after mindnight for a CT/PET Scan on Wednesday.
Wednesday was interesting. The people had scheduled the CT/PET Scan for 3:00 but the pre-admit people at the hospital had also scheduled me for 3:00 p.m. I called the pre-admit folks and told them the hospital had doubled scheduled me so they said, “No problem, PET Scans don’t last long so come over when you get thru there.” Not true! When I got to the PET Scans they again shot me with “Nookyalar Medicine” and, yes, I would have to wait. But only for one hour this time and I couldn’t leave the facility. Another call to Pre-Admit and they said, “No problem. Just come in at 9:00 in the morning.” (They are oblivious to the fact that I live 75 miles one-way from the hospital and gas now costs $3.59.) But the most interesting part of the day still lay ahead. Finally at 5:15 I made it into the PET Scan facility. The machine is in the back of a large 18-wheeler trailer. It is a traveling machine and even though it’s in the back of an 18-wheeler it is dressed out very nicely. The room is kept at 67 degrees because of the huge machine that you are about to lie down upon. There was a craddle for my head and a huge velcro tape (about two feet wide) that strapped down my legs. I had to hold my hands up over my head for twenty-four minutes and lay still. The trick to this was that a huge storm blew into the Abilene area right as I was getting into the machine and being strapped down. I could hear the thunder and feel the trailer shaking – then I heard pelting rain and hail striking the metal outsides of this contraption. I just knew that that whole trailer was about to be picked up and tossed by a tornado and there I was belted down inside this gigantic machine. All the while I was contemplating my get-away! Once out of the machine I made my way thru driving rain drops to my vehicle. There I called my husband and told him that I was not about to drive home in these storms – I’ve done that before and it’s not fun. So – off to greater Clyde, Texas I went to spend the night with my sister. Since I had to be in at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday morning it made better sense to stay there (15 minutes away rather than the 75 back home.)
Thursday morning I reported early for Pre-Op stuff and then went right upstairs for Day Surgery. Today I would have a mediport inserted just under my left shoulder blade. The surgery only took 30 minutes and since they didn’t have to put me on a ventilator the anesthesia used was much easier to recoup from than the previous Day Surgeries. The port was covered with bandages so I couldn’t see it until Saturday evening when I could remove them. I didn’t know exactly what to expect and I was nervous as I peeled one corner at a time. To my surprise you really can’t see the port at all – it’s completely under my skin. It does poke up just a little and you can feel it and of course, you can see the scar from the incision. I let all the grandkids feel the outside of the bandage so they would feel easier about it and since then there have been no questions.
Today, Monday the 28th, was my first chemo treatment. I was very apprehensive but the nurses are all so nice and they explained everything very, very well. I did tell them that I was nervous so the first thing they did was give me a little “relaxer.” They explained what chemo drugs I would be receiving when the time came and then it was time to take lab samples from the new port. Again, I was nervous. They injected a little local anesthetic to help with that and pretty soon they had an attachment on my port that served as the lines to the IV and also where blood would be drawn. After drawing the blood they washed the port out with saline solution and an antibiotic but I didn’t feel a thing. Next they administered anti-nausea drugs and a steroid right into the lines from the port. Once those had made their way to my waiting body here came the chemo. First the bright red Dytoxin was inserted into the tubes. In it’s early days it was called “Red Devil”. After that I received Adriamycin. The whole thing took about 5 1/2 hours but next time it won’t take as long – they went slow to see how I would react to the different drugs, etc. Well, folks – so far, so good! Right now the only side affects I have are “noodle legs” and I think I’m beginning to have a chemo-headache but I’ll just take some Tylenol and drift off to La-La land soon! In two weeks I’ll go back for labs so they can check on my blood counts – I’m going to try to be a good girl and eat fruits and veggies, take my Go-Chi juice, and also down a yogurt a day and swallow two Co-Q 10 tablets to help keep my counts good.
If all goes as expected I may have this thick, gray hair for about another two or three weeks then it will be gone for a while. I’m hoping it will come back in dark and curly – wouldn’t that be unique?
Today my sister came into the chemo room to tell me that she will be getting a mediport this week and will also start infusion chemo the same day. This is her second bout with cancer and while her tumor markers have subsided greatly they are on the increase again – darn those little cancer cells. She has been taking a strong pill form chemo for 14 months and now her body is probably adjusting to them and those smart little cancer cells have figured out how to grow again. She will now continue the pill form chemo but also take infusion chemo every weeks. I hope she doesn’t loose her hair for the 3rd time but she might. Actually, I was hoping to borrow all her cute hats so we may have to fight over them now. We are trying to talk our doctor into a 2-for-1 patient deal but I don’t think he’s going for it!
“I have cancer.” It still seems like a fictional statement and I’m still going to look on the bright side of the situation. You sure don’t have to look far to find someone worse off than you. So, my friends – remember to Smile First, Smile Often, and Smile Big. And that’s “the breast of the story.” (Girls – have you gotten those mammos yet?)

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