Sunday, July 27, 2014

Preparing for the worst; hoping for the best.

It's felt like an eternity since Friday.  I've felt the love of my friends and family, those who are here and those who are far away.  Your prayers are palpable.  Thank you.

As I've done more research, I've learned a little bit more.  But I won't know anything for sure until my appointment tomorrow at 4 (could it BE any later or more torturous??).

My OBGYN had called me with my biopsy results.  She told me that I have invasive ductal carcinoma, which you know.  I forgot to tell you that it's grade 3.  I looked that up.  Here's what the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's website told me:

Breast Cancer Grades

The grade of an invasive breast cancer tumor refers to how closely the cancer resembles normal breast cells under a microscope. In general, a lower grade number indicates a slower-growing cancer that is less likely to spread, while a higher number indicates a faster-growing cancer that is more likely to spread.
Breast cancer grade is determined as part of a biopsy. There are three grades.
  • Grade 1 (well differentiated): The cells in these cancers are relatively less abnormal looking under a microsope. The cells do not appear to be growing rapidly. They are arranged in small tubules.
  • Grade 2 (moderately differentiated): The cells in these cancers are somewhat more abnormal.
  • Grade 3 (poorly differentiated): The cells in these cancers look the most abnormal. They tend to grow and spread more aggressively. 
The grade of a breast cancer is different from the stage. Stage is based on where the cancer has spread.

Um, so...that's kind of scary.

I also had a friend e-mail me and so kindly tell me that she's praying for me and thinking of me.  Her letter was very uplifting.  She mentioned that she has a friend who has the same kind of cancer who just finished chemo.

"Oh," I thought.  "Oh."

So...I may have to do chemo.  But I don't know.  I just don't know what will happen.  I'm arming myself with information.  I want to know what I'm up against.  I'm figuratively reviewing the opposing team's game footage.  I'm looking at images online that look like my x-ray.  I'm writing down questions.  I'll be bringing to my appointment a diagram that my father-in-law sent me that they used when visiting with a doctor about my mother-in-law's cancer.  So that we can have a real diagram instead of what he calls "chicken scratches" - the pictures that doctors try to draw to explain what's happening anatomically.

I want to know what stage I'm at.

I'm a planner.  My plan is to fight this thing with everything I'm worth.  To "beat it up," as one of my friends said.  To "kick its arse," as another friend said.  I should seriously print the lovely and encouraging things my family and friends have said.  They make me feel like a warrior.

Plus, listening to Ben watching the new The 300 movie is also helping to rile me up.  "I WILL FEEL THE THROAT OF CANCER UNDER MY BOOT."  That Eva Green girl kicks arse.  I'm going to pretend I'm her character.  And that I look like her.  That wouldn't hurt any.

Ben and I were eating dinner tonight.  The kids got hungry way early and ate way early and were downstairs playing.  Ben was looking worriedly into my eyes under those fuzzy blonde eyebrows.  I love his eyebrows.  I reached over and held his hand.  I told him that it may be that I have to have chemo.  That I don't know.  But that I might have to.

His cute brow furrowed and his eyes got moist. 

"But hey," I said.  "I am REALLY GOOD at barfing."

He laughed.  "You really are, Kar.  Four pregnancies, barfing from beginning to finish."

"I really could be quite accurate and careful in any situation, amIright?"

"Yeah, you've got madd barfing skillz."

"So really, I got this, Ben.  I got this.  We know what it's like for me to barf for several months.  We've been down that road before.  So let's put a check mark next to the barfing thing."

He sighed.  "Okay."

"Also, the losing-the-hair thing.  You know I hate doing my hair and pull it back in a ponytail every single day, right?  So no big whoop.  We could be matching baldies.  We could get cute little couples photographs together.  All I have to do is draw a goatee on my chin and we can be buds."

He chuckled softly.

"And if it makes me lose weight?  Sweet!  Right??  I could lose some poundage throughout all this!  So it won't all be in vain!  Up top!" I yelled, holding my hand up for a high five.

He high-fived me, and then looked at his hand with wide eyes.  "I'm so sorry, Kar.  I can't believe I just high fived you.  I'm so sorry."

"What are you talking about?  I asked you for a high five, dude.  You don't leave me hangin' on a high five, no matter what it's about."

"Um, okay..."

Then I grabbed his forearm with my other hand and stared hard into his little light blue eyes.  "Here's the deal.  I'm not leaving you.  Don't you think for a second I'm leaving you.  I'm fighting this.  Hard.  I'm not going to give up.  And we're going to be okay."

We will.  Perspective:  we're sealed for eternity with our kids.  The rest is just gravy.  Sometimes lumpy, nasty gravy.  But I have my family guaranteed to be with me FOREVER.  No matter what happens.  But my plan is to stay here for as long as possible.  Or until I'm 95 and I'm like, "Kay, for realsies, I'm ready to be done."

I'll let you know what we find out tomorrow.


April Sattison said...

I would really like to do something to help but I have no idea what would be helpful. ((( hugs))) I'm here if you need me.

Miranda-Jayne said...

Well Hello There,
You have no idea who I am, but you have helped me teach my crazy Sunday School Class for over a year now. Your ideas have inspired me and your humor has almost made me pee my pants. :) I referred my mom to your site for YW in her ward, and she told me that you were just diagnosed. It punched me in the gut, because I feel like I know you (in a totally non-creeper way;). My mom had it. And it stinks. But so much good can come of it too. I'm so glad you seem like you have such a great outlook and handle on this. At least half of every battle goes down in our minds...and that's great for you because you've totally got this! Keep it up and remember there's a whole lotta strangers out in California keeping you in their prayers.
xo, Miranda

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