By the time most of you read this, I should be in surgery or maybe even finished with it. I’m scheduled to be at the hospital by 6 a.m., so many people will still be asleep. I wish this were a day for me to be asleep in my own bed instead of “sleeping” from anesthesia.
Let me bring you up to date on where things stand. As you might know, I was diagnosed with breast cancer slightly more than two weeks ago. A week later, tests of additional samples led the doctor to back off a bit, saying that he could now only say that there were “atypical” cells. The lump in my chest might be cancer, but it might not be.
I won’t know until I wake up after the surgery what was done to me or what they found. Here’s the plan. They’re first going to remove the lump. While I’m still knocked out, it will be sent to the hospital lab for testing. If the people in the lab can determine that it’s definitely cancer, the surgery will resume and they’ll remove all of the breast tissue from the left side of my chest, possibly even lymph nodes, depending on what they find. If the lab can’t definitely say the cells in the lump are cancer — if the cells just appear “atypical” again — the surgeon won’t do anything else today. Obviously, the second is the one I’m hoping for.
If the cells are cancerous and they have to do the major surgery — a “modified radical mastectomy” — I’ll be in the hospital for at least one night. If they don’t have to do that, there’s a good chance I’ll be home Monday night. Either way, I’ve been told not to expect to do much this week.
Honestly, I’m expecting the less-serious outcome, so I’m expecting to be home Monday night. I got one piece of very hopeful news Friday when I went in for a CT scan. (That’s the scanner above.) The technician operating it told me that the lump didn’t appear to be connected to anything else. She said that’s a good sign that whatever is going on in it hasn’t spread elsewhere. She’s not a doctor, so she could be wrong, but it’s a hopeful sign.
Despite my absence, some things will continue as normal here, at least for a few days. I’ve given most of the monkeys a week of well-deserved vacation, so you won’t be seeing any news links this week, but I have new articles that will be published for the rest of the week. Please keep up the discussion of anything you find interesting even if I’m not around to join in. I’ll at least be reading your comments on my iPhone.
If you’ve never gone through anything such as this, count yourself lucky. It’s been an interesting learning experience, mostly because of the emotional roller coaster it creates. It’s scary, but it also has the odd side effect of forcing you to look carefully at what matters to you in life. It’s had that effect for me, and other people have since told me that it had the same effect for them.
I want to let you know that I’ve appreciated all the emails, Facebook messages and phone calls. You guys have been amazingly supportive, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you. I’ve also been amused to find that three different people mentioned that their pastors didn’t know how to pronounce my last name correctly when they read the name on their church prayer lists. I’m accustomed to that by now.
I’ll probably have a chance to post news to my Facebook page before I’ll be able to post something here about what’s going on later, so feel free to check that page if you’d like. It’s an open page, so anybody can read it or post there.
Thanks again for all the support. I do want all of you to know that I’ve appreciated everything you’ve said and done, each in his or her own way. I appreciate all of you.