I had a good feeling when I woke up this morning. Today was the day I would be receiving the pathology results from my 2nd lot of surgery held last Wednesday. Our Jaz had a sleep over at Mema and Pa's (my parents house) last night so we enjoyed some quality time with Baylee over breakfast before she went off to daycare. Ryan worked from home today so around mid morning I persuaded him to take me to Choc Block to enjoy a yummy hot chocolate :) We had a good chat but I got a little teary when we stopped to ponder what news we would be receiving later today. Needless to say the conversation quickly changed to take my mind off things.
My first appointment was at 1.15pm with Dr Willsher (my surgeon) and he would be giving me the results from my surgery. I was extremely nervous as last time we were in his office he told me the devastating news that cancer was found in my lymph nodes and I would need more surgery. I was just praying that history wouldn't repeat itself and he would give me something to smile about today. We didn't have to wait long in reception before he called my name. We sat down in his room and a smile came across his face - this had to be a good sign! He went onto to say that he had some good news and that there was no trace of cancer found in the 9 lymph nodes he took last week. What a relief!!!! I could have jumped over the desk and hugged him I was just so happy :) He then checked to see how I was recovering physically and went on to say that I was healing very well. He said I was a very good healer and I hope he means that in more ways than one.
My next appointment was with Prof Arlene Chan (Oncologist) and by the time we finally got to see her (she was running 45 minutes late), I had a splitting headache. It was all becoming extremely overwhelming again but at least I had received some good news today - I kept trying to be as positive as I could. Prof Chan was absolutely lovely and in a strange kind of way I was getting a little excited about starting Chemo! A little bizarre I know but it means that I am onto the next stage of treatment. As they stay, 1 step forward.... (the second lot of surgery was my steps back). I was given a huge amount of information (which added to my headache!) but she was very honest and open about the treatment I would be about to undertake. She definitely didn't paint a pretty picture though and spoke of things such as nausea, fatigue, hair loss, mouth ulcers, menopause, constipation and Chemo brain. I think it was about this time my 'excitement' turned into fear :( How could I be putting my body through this - it is hard to comprehend that you have to make your body really unwell before it starts to get better again?!? I suppose in a way the Chemo is my 'insurance policy'. I have to be absolutely sure that there are no microscopic cells anywhere in my body and in order to eradicate any little traces I need to do the Chemo. She advised that my first treatment would take place on Wednesday 3rd August which gives me a 3 week break to ensure that I have properly healed from my two lots of surgery. I will be having 6 sessions of Chemo (over 18 weeks). It is going to be hard going and I know I will have some bad days where I am not good but I have to make the most of the good days.
I left The Mount Hospital after another 3 hour stint of specialist appointments and it started to dawn on me that The Mount is going to be my 'home away from home' for at least the next 6 months. Certainly not something I ever thought I would be facing only 4 weeks ago...
Jaz has still been asking me lots of questions and has often asked to look at my scar. I think she is very intrigued by all that is going on. To help answer some of her questions we found a great book called Safina and the Hat Tree and it arrived late last week. It is a fantastic little book that helps young children understand cancer and how the medicine can make your hair fall out, etc. We have tried to be as open and honest with her (Baylee is too young to understand yet) as we don't want her to feel frightened by anything.
Since receiving my diagnosis all of 26 days ago we have been very proactive with our research. I was told by my surgeon that if I was to walk out of his practice there and then and not have any further treatment there was a 65% chance I would die from this cancer. He went on to say that if we add the additional treatment being chemo, radiation and Tamoxifen (this is a hormone based drug I will have to take for the next 5 years) my chances of this cancer taking my life is reduced to 25%. In addition to the conventional medicine we have read about the other types of medicine available - complementary and lifestyle. Complementary being traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, etc and Lifestyle being diet and exercise. I have been trying some meditation of late (always thought this was something the monks did!) but I have been really enjoying sitting and relaxing with some nice soothing music playing :) We have also been looking at organic foods with the idea of eliminating some of the processed food in our diet. It is not until you stop and assess exactly what you are eating that you realise that some of it is soooo bad! I have also been told to cut down on all sugar and salt in my diet which sounds easy enough (I very rarely add this to my food) but again when I was checking some of the labels on such things as pasta sauce, etc it is not as easy as you think. Anyway lets just say it is a work in progress :)
We, as a family have decided that we will do anything and everything to ensure I beat this awful disease and for it to never ever return. I will do this for my husband and my girls and for the rest of my family and my wonderful friends who have been supporting me through this journey.