Thursday, March 15, 2012

Information Overload

Information I've got.  In spades.  Although we still don't know a plan of treatment, the surgeon gave us a TON of information.  It doesn't appear to be in the lymph nodes, but the MRI tomorrow will help prove that (I think.)  Until the results of one test from the biopsy (due next Monday or Tuesday) and the results of tomorrow's MRI (due next week) and the results of the genetic test (maybe up to 10 days,) we won't know the plan of action.  Surgery WILL happen, but we don't know if it's a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.

Because there are two tumors, several cm apart, a lumpectomy would be difficult, so the surgeon seemed to be leaning toward mastectomy.  I guess that would solve the gravity-with-age issue, huh?  If radiation is involved, it would be EVERY week day for SIX weeks, on the plaza (which is about 50 miles from home, as opposed to the 40 I drive for work.)  If there is chemo, the hair will go.

There are some ego-type thoughts going on here.  I know it's temporary, but it's concerning, nonetheless.  Don't judge me.  I have cancer!  LOL  Radiation involves a ton of long trips to KC that will likely make me feel like crap.  If I lose one or both breasts, will insurance help with reconstruction?  I doubt it, but I'll check.  If I lose my hair, do I go with bandannas, hats, or scarves?  None of those match my T-shirt and jeans style.  OK, enough about those fears.  Whatever it takes to make me  stay alive will be what I do, and I leave that to the skilled professionals dealing with this mess.

They sent me home with a ton of information to read.  It's not the lame type brochure you see in Dr's offices, either.  It's real, good, well-done stuff.  As I went through it tonight (skimming) I was quite impressed.  My boss is being super great about what needs done.  I'll inform my customers (who don't already know....Michelle Brown stalks me on FB, LOL) soon, so they'll know that there are times I'm gone.

To end on a light note, I'll give you some wonderful quotes from the day, uttered by my husband Kevin:

"Wow.  Cancer ain't for pussies or po' folks, huh?"
"I got cancer, and all I got was this lousy handbag."
"I want you to know, I have not bought ONE gun that has cost as much as this cancer has cost us already."
When the Dr. said, "I've done all the talking, I want to hear you say something."  Kevin said, "Shit!?"


Donna said...

One day at a time.


I have followed your mother's Blog for a while now. It was there I heard about what you face. I have had friends and family members in your shoes. Given the situation... You have a TERRIFIC attitude. It will serve you well during the following weeks and months as you move forward. Tackling this will be the toughest thing you've ever done. But I know this disease is no match for your determination to beat it. You will be in my prayers during this difficult time. Take care. PS) Scarves and wigs can be pretty cool, I'm just saying. Change your look everyday if you want. PPS)Here in our town there is an organization that gives them to patients for FREE. You might want to check on that where you live.

Sonya said...

Well, thanks for posting what is going on. It just does not seem real to hear you talking about this. I still cannot believe it. We will be here to cheer you on as you face it all. You DO have a great spirit and sounds like Kevin does too. Taryterre is right...there are some agencies out there that give out "free stuff". Does your company have an EAP (Employee Assistance Program?). They can connect you up with the right folks. If not, your doctor's office may be aware. Seems like here in Nashville one agency gave out gift baskets and various things to patients with cancer. Might as well get some "free stuff" out of all this. lol

Anonymous said...

Rachel, Is all I can say (from experience), people will say the dumbest things to you...Just be prepared. LOL Will find out our plan of attack on Monday...It seems like things move so slowly when we want them to be overwith. Pat/Central Texas

Anonymous said...

I believe insurance is required by law to pay for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy

Margaret said...

Cancer is everywhere; we're dealing with Stage 4 lung cancer here.(my husband) I will tell you that the very hardest time was before we knew The Plan of Treatment; once he started, we just tried to put one foot in front of the other and do what needed to be done. (while remaining as positive as possible) You sound like you will do well; you have a great attitude and support system. xoxo

Ann said...

Girl, have you seen the styles bandana type headwraps come in nowadays? I think you'd ROCK em!! Just remember, when your legs get tired of kickin cancer ass, you have some hellacious backup out here!! Love ya!!

Rachel said...

You all are amazing. Thank you.

Carlene Noggle said...

Rachael, for what it's worth, I want you to know that I am praying for a complete healing.

Anonymous said...

You didn't suggest a wig, but that is a thought.

I am praying for complete healing also. If a miracle is what it takes, then ask for it? It's not like asking for something extravagent.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Ok I know you probably don't want to hear this but here goes. I don't want to scare you. You will probably have to get a mastectomy. I hope not but I know the surgeons like to err on the side of caution. It will be a shock, you will have tubes to go home with that you have to drain. The scar will be ugly, if you need radiation you will probably have to wait for a reconstruction but good news is that your insurance, by law, has to cover it! I am going to see a surgeon on the 21st about mine. I wore bandanas, they were easy and worked for me because of the casual look. I hated my wig, never wore it. I wore baseball caps too even though I had never worn them before. If you get chemo you can expect your hair to start coming out around day 14. is a fabulous resource with forums and you can sign up with a group going thru what you are right now. If transportation will be costly some places offer rides to and from right from your home. Get info from American cancer society in your area too. YOU and Kevin CAN do this. Keep your humor. There will be plenty of fear and tears but you can do this. Oh and for chemo, ask for a drug called Emend. Works wonders for the puking! Radiation for me was actual not that bad. I did get pretty burned up toward the end but it didn't hurt. I had to get a lymph node biopsy so I have to feeling in that area. It looked gross but healed quick! Please let me know if you have ANY questions, I will be so glad to answer them. Linda

nerves05 said...

I know it's going to be tough but you have everyone pulling for you.
Your great attitude is wonderful. Try your best to keep it even through the hard times.
We are all praying for ya and girl you will rock the bandanas!
Seriously.. Don't even worry about that.

RhondaLee said...

Rachel, I've been speechless about this, but we all knew that wouldn't last long. I just want to come give you a hug and tell you it's going to be alright. The positives: you have an awesome support system, incredible husband and kids, bandanas, hats, and wigs go perfect with jeans, you are an incredibly strong and positive person, and best of all..... You will have the best looking, perkiest breasts of all of us when it's all done!!! My mom began at a stage 4, had a double mastectomy with reconstruction and is now a 4 year survivor. You will do great! Lean on everyone, this is one of those things that we are all in together and we have to stick together to beat it. I love you girl! Stay positive :-)

Forty Pound Sack said...

Rachel, I'm sorry you have to go through this. I just wanted to tell you, my surgeon wanted me to have a mastectomy, too, (4 tumors, the largest was bigger than an acorn) but I decided on a lumpectomy and it turned out fine. Yes, I have lopsided boobs, but that's what padded bras are for.

If you decide on a mastectomy, your insurance, by law, has to pay for reconstruction, and they also have to pay to make the non-cancer side match, if needed. So no worries there.

Radiation isn't so bad. Get some ginko or One a Day Energy Formula vitamins to help with fatigue. Rest when you can. If you get vacation time from work, take a day off now and then, just because. Make a paper chain and pull off one link every day.

If you need chemo, do an eBay search for "chemo scarves". There's a woman who makes cool scarves from gorgeous fabric, and her prices are very reasonable.

The bottom line is, YOU get to choose how to fight this. Do your reaseach and make the decision that YOU feel most comfortable with. Good luck to you, honey. Hugs ~