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MRI Results, Despair and Hope

A few things have happened that I haven't written about so I thought I'd give you all an update.

First, somewhere just after the second chemo treatment I received the results of the MRI they did on my left breast (remember, the lump was in the right). Dr. F called and because I was in my chemo coma, he gave the results to Chris who gave them to me. They found an "anomaly." Though Dr. F told Chris who told me not to worry, of course, that sent me into a major funk - let's face it, the thought that I could get through all of this only to find out my other breast could be "infected" left me feeling rather hopeless. Chris kept telling me both my oncologist (Dr. F) and my surgeon (Dr. M) weren't worried but it didn't help, much. Chris kept telling me that even if it were cancerous, the chemo would kill it but it didn't matter. Chris kept telling me I was going to be fine, but short of God coming down and telling me, I couldn't imagine believing that. All I could think about was having to have another biopsy when this is done. Another lumpectomy? Questioning, should I have insisted on the double mastectomy? Doubt.

After I came out of the second chemo coma, another thing happened. I became overcome with fear and despair. Crying jags ensued, suddenly and often with out immediate reason. Now I've dealt with depression, and I know how it feels for me, and this felt like something completely abnormal. Like some other being was possessing me and controlling my emotions - I didn't recognize myself. Pure unadulterated fear of dying kept rearing its head at the most random moments.
Last week, before my third round of chemo, I met with Dr. F for my monthly check-up. He noted some swelling in my legs, which I think is gone now (they look pretty good to me as I type), my numbers were good, and he examined my breasts, which felt fine (still a little fluid in the right one from the surgery but he said that should get reabsorbed). Then it was time for my questions.

First off I asked about the MRI results. And in his accent, which I love by the way, he said, "That's nothing. I talked to Dr. M and she too said, 'that's bullshit.'" I love how he speaks, and when he says bullshit it makes me smile. Basically, they both think it really is nothing, a blip, but it's good that we know it's there because we can keep an eye on it. He said it would have been worse if we didn't know it was there and then saw it again after the treatment. And it's tiny (after all it didn't show on the mammo). I breathed easier - okay, maybe I didn't need God coming down telling me not to worry, having two good doctors emphatically telling me would suffice.

Then I asked about the depression - was it normal to feel this way? Could it be the drugs? The anti-nausea meds? He said it's everything. The illness, the chemicals, the anti-nausea meds could all be contributing to it. He gave me the name of a counselor but also supported my decision to cut back on the Atavin during my chemo coma. While it helps fight the nausea it's also an anti-anxiety and I just didn't like how it was making me feel.

We covered some other things but, basically, after talking to him, I felt better.

Then of course, I had chemo, and the world quickly became days of sleep, fog, dizziness, and nausea again. I took the compazine, I had the Emend, but I didn't take the Atavin.

After 3.5 solid days in bed, I came out of the coma Friday morning, and managed to sit on the couch all day, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy in our bi-annual "Slugfest."

Saturday, I felt better, but still, tired and on the couch.

Sunday, I actually went to the gym with Lisa. Walked on the treadmill, barely going 2 mph but I was there. Rest of the day? Back to the couch.

And then yesterday came. And the strangest thing happened. I woke and felt ... hopeful. Really, hopeful. I could finally see the light at the end of the chemo tunnel (it's March 9 by the way). I'm not halfway through but for some reason, I just got the strongest sense that once I pass this glitch, everything will be fine. The little bugaboos in my brain like to whisper, "You'll feel foolish if it turns out you're not fine." But I finally feel strong enough to tell them to shove it.

I went for my blood test yesterday and my white blood cells are below normal (which is normal - gotta love the double speak) but the other numbers indicating production show they should be back up soon. My platelets are down too (they help clot my blood) but not at a dangerous level.

So where am I this morning? Still feeling hopeful but also a bit more accepting of the fact that this stuff is weakening my body and that while I need to live my life, I also need to give my body a break, give it the rest it needs to stay strong. Me and the couch have become good friends. But I'm hopeful it won't last and that a year from now, it won't miss me too much.

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Other Thinks (18)

The old "take things one day at a time" addage is really the only one that works with this bloody disease. Enjoy the hopeful & happy days, take a deep breath on dark days and tell yourself that this too shall pass.

Unfortunately, your body is being poisoned with chemo drugs and so it's fair to expect that your thoughts & feelings are not always going to respond to that in a way that feels "normal". Likewise, it makes sense that you may not recognise yourself at times, because you have never gone through anything like this before. But it will pass.

"I also need to give my body a break, give it the rest it needs to stay strong."

Yes! This is where your focus needs to be. Really listen to what your body is telling you and give it everything it needs right now. Don't worry about not doing "normal" things for the time being ... your body will let you know when it's ready for small challenges again.

And keep hydrated! I know I keep saying that, but drinking at least 2 litres of water a day is fundamental.

I'm very glad to hear you're feeling hopeful and I'm sure the couch will have had quite enough of you by this time next year and won't miss you at all! :)

*snibble*

ChrisV:

A day at a time.

A website I've been reading lately is the Fabulous Geezersisters although you're way too young to be considered a geezer...Anyway, here's the link if you've not been aware of this site:

www.geezersisters.com

January 2nd entry was illuminating.

Kim you have been through so much!! My heart goes out to you. I am glad you are feeling more hopeful. Warm thoughts being sent your way.

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks all. Chris that website is a hoot. I need to bookmark it.

Kim-I'm sorry you've been having a rougher time lately. It's so hard when our mind and emotions play such games with us. I'm glad you're feeling better and more hopeful now. Hang in there -March 9th is going to be here before you know it!

Barb Cabot:

We are all here for you...listening when you need to get it out...keeping good thoughts for you and sending you much love.

jgk:

Kim, Keep listening to the voice that KNOWS it will all be OK. March 9 is really so soon.

Sometimes I take ativan for sleep. (I'm a lousy sleeper but that's another story). Anyway, I often notice that the morning after I'm in a foul mood. No anxiety , but no joy either.

There's so much love for you out here. Take time to feel it.

sandrac:

Kim, thanks for the update. You're in my prayers, as always -- for your health but also that you can continue to hope!

All the emotional ups and downs are normal. You are going through a LOT, and handling it very well. Depression is part of the process, and not a permanent state. Hang in there, and let all those who love you help when you feel down. There are lots of us! Hell, I'm depressed just because it is fricken January! Not even a decent reason! YOU are entitled to a little depression! (but the hope is better)!

Laura (Chachalaca @ Slowtrav):

Thoughts and prayers headed your way.

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe:

Those bugaboos need to bugger off.
~that sounds a lot like bugalu, but I won't take it personal.

I think you did better at the gym last week than I did!

It is good that you have a doctor you like and trust. His making you laugh is an added benefit. Sending hugs your way.

Knowing that there is a little blip in the other breast will keep you keenly aware, so from that perspective, it can be a good thing (sorry for the double speak). Kim, there is always time for a double mast. if it becomes necessary down the road. And chances are it won't ever come that far because the chemo is going to nail and rogue cells. Michele who you have met went through almost this exact scenario -- lumpectomy, anomaly found shortly after surgery in the other breast. She was not having chemo though, so they kept their eye closely on it and as soon as it moved a bit she had the double. She is doing unbelievably well now. She feels great, the surgery she opted for gave here an unintended tummy tuck and she is healthy and strong. You will be healthy and strong again too.

A depression of that status rapes your hope. I am glad yours is coming back. If the depression rears its head I can only offer the statement offered to me in the hospital: there is how you feel, and there is reality. And the two have nothing to do with each other. I focused hard on that for a long time.

Anyway, be gentle with yourself. I am thinking of you.

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

You all are great. Thank you. :)

I love your image about the little bugaboos in your brain. Keep talking to them! I'm so sorry you are having to do through this but am so glad that you do have hope. Hang in there!

nancyhol:

Oh, Kim, everyone has written so eloquently already, that I won't repeat their sentiments.

Just wanted you to know that I too am thinking of you and sending healing vibes your way. Hang in there!

Teaberry:

Kim, I really hate that cancer happened to you.

And you are so not a couch person!

But you are totally real, and your hope has ignited hope in all of us. Kick a$$, Kim! Big hugs.

Marcia:

Courage, Kim, be kind to yourself. AND just remember some of us are also very good friends with our couches, and for far less better reasons. This bleak winter will soon turn to spring.

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