Well, friends, here I am again, stuck in my bad-news loop. It would seem if anyone could still have breast cancer recurrence after a double-mastectomy it’d be me! Shut the front door! Last I left you, I mentioned my oncologist had wanted me to follow up surgery with chemo, and I was waffling. I’d ended up telling her, “You show me there are cancer cells left, and I’ll do chemo.” This is the last time I dare an oncologist.
Ahead of my routine three-month check up, the oncologist ordered a PET scan, and the scan showed a very tiny spot in the location of the last malignant tumor, though that tissue had been removed and replaced with new tissue. A follow-up biopsy revealed there had indeed been a few stubborn cells that had hung around in the skin layer. I’m sitting here trying to think of a good analogy, and the only thing I can think of is pie. So I’ll move along.
What’s next? I already had my Phase II surgery (which they call the revision surgery — a writer, being revised!) scheduled for May 12, so the surgeon says he’ll “wedge it out.” Those were his words, which I like because it makes it sound like a minor annoyance we can brush aside. Then, I have to make good on my promise to my oncologist and undergo chemo. Again. It’s a different kind, two different kinds to be exact — one I’ll take orally on my own and the other, administered through an IV every three weeks. So this will be my chemo summer, woo-hoo.
My first thought? I melted my wig in the dryer! My next thought? We already booked a week-long vacation in Destin for the girls! We haven’t been able to take them on a true vacation since our cancer journey began in 2013, and if anyone needs a beach get-away it’s those darling girls who’ve spent the last two years praying their mom isn’t going the way of all Disney moms. I asked my oncologist if I could possibly still go if I was on chemo. Last time, after all, I’d taught three classes while on chemo. My oncologist agreed I could handle it.
While I spent yesterday afternoon telling all my loved ones the news, Joe was stressing out about how much our chemo summer would cost us on top of vacation. By the time I came home from the English Department Awards Ceremony at the university last night, though, Joe was himself again. “I decided we’re going to Florida, and we’re going to have the best time. Screw it!”
I also went crazy and ate two Taco Bell beef tacos, a package of Ghirardelli mint chocolates, and one pound of cheese. Then the Firecracker and I decided to stay up past our respective bedtimes to watch Paddington. Next on our to-do list: flooding a bathroom and riding the tub out on a wave.