Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Countdown begins

This has been such a roller coaster journey. First you have the mammogram and they call you back - you think "Oh bother - it's just a funny spot" Then they stick you with a long needle and pinch a piece of you while your breast is being flattened to a pancake (quite a feat)...and you think "They won't find a thing". Then you wait and wait for the pathology to come back. By then you're really pumping adrenaline. You get the results and don't believe it. You go to the doctor, search the web to learn all you can, still don't tell anyone.

Then you become overwhelmed with the decisions that have to be made, lumpectomy, chemo, radiation, mastectomy, reconstruction......that was really the hardest part so far. What doctore to talk to first: Surgeon or Oncologist? (They need to assign you a manager to help keep it all straight - who does what when) What do I do? The big unknown - but I do believe that knowledge is I learned. I talked to many people (there is a WONDERFUL support network in Central Oregon) , nurses, doctors, my Navigator, Bev (who I have never met in person, but have talked on the phone tons - big hugs), there's the Komen site, the BreastCancer site (Both with great supportive message boards).

Then there's my kids - because they are of a different generation - they took this really well - they admit they are scared - but not nearly as scared as I was when my mom was diagnosed. They are here for me and for each other. Obviously my own siblings are here too - my sister will be staying with me. (She's been here before so knows all the tricks) I haven't told my Dad yet - I just can't. Two reasons - I'm not sure he's there enough to understand - and that would hurt me more than him and if he is there - I don't want to worry him. It's a dilemma I don't know how to solve.

All along I've really believed that i will be OK - I know I'll be just fine. But like any human I wonder - what if they find something bigger, what if it's in my lymph nodes...lots of what ifs. So I luckily only have 7 more days to worry about it. At this point I'm pretty much a wreck - I'm getting really anxious and not sleeping well, but actually writing this down is helpful. I can see how silly I am being concentrating on the negative. So what's good about all this...

I won't have to wear a bra anymore if I don't want to.
When I want to wear a bra - I can be any size I want to be!
I'll never have to have a mammogram again.
I'll quickly lose some weight and keep it off.
I'll get to sit in my recliner for days and knit....take pain all the ice cream I TLC all day....have a pedicure and foot massage...
Just what was I thinking? this will be bliss!

But by far the best part has been really understanding what wonderful friends I have. I had no idea..really. Many of you I'm tied to by stitches of yarn, we've never met in person, but we've shared our lives; or we knit together once a week; or we meet once a month to share a great book; or our lives are tied by work. Part of my job deals with a homeowners association - some of my homeowners have gifted me with financial help (OMG I still can't believe that!).

All of you who are sending good thoughts and prayers - thank you from my fullest heart. It is so appreciated - I can feel it! And it brings me to tears because it just down right astonishes me! I am so glad to have you all part of my life. It has been the worst year - but the best is yet to come and it starts now!!

Next Thursday - the 15th is the big day - off they come, then the pain meds for a few days, then recoop for a few days and then back to normal again...that's the plan and I'm stickin to it!!
Now I'm gathering Knitting supplies (as though I need some new ones), cooking a few extra meals for the freezer, buying the dog food (can't lift), putting things at a height I can reach (can't lift my arm up), stocking up on my favorite things and trying to remember what Movies I might like to see. There will be a frenzy of activity this weekend getting prepared. I will be ready won't I? If not I've got plenty of assistance. I think the girls will be sick of me by the time the surgery roles around..."do we have this?" "Did you get that for me" - you know how that goes!
Now it's way past my bedtime - so gotta go - sleeping is on my list of "must do"

Thanks to all for listening. I'll keep you posted.
Knit Peace


Annie said...

I've been down and out and not watching blogs, Julie. Whew, what news! {{{hugs}}}

I've put the 15th on the calendar for extra prayers and I'll put you into our prayer circle at church. More prayers never hurt anyone, eh?!

All blessings to you and yours. Keep us in the loop if you can.

Roxie said...

You might talk to the doc about getting a few sedatives to help you up to the day. A relaxed and rested patient is ever so much easier to deal with.

Breathe in. Breathe out. This is going to be OK. The doctors and nurses are skilled and experienced and they will take excellent care of you. And your support staff will be right there the whole time. You'll be fine. We are holding you in our metaphysical arms.

Oh, show one of the girls how to blog for you so we can get reports.

Pat K said...

Add me to the list. You're on my prayer requests every day. All will be well.

Kukka-75 said...

You have such a great attitude! I´ll remember You in my prayers, hugs!

Judy said...

Sending big hugs to you. All will be well.

Mary, Mary... said...

Oh my. It sounds crazy, but photograph your breasts before the big day.
Don't forget books on tape!
sending prayers your way...

Anonymous said...

It's Melissa's Sister #1 again. You're doing great-- I like the preparations, moving heavy things like dog food. It might take a little longer to say it's "over." No matter how much love surrounds you, it will last longer than surgery + 1 week. Here are my 3 things, from experience, that will tell you it's over and you can close the "Big C" compartment in your life and move on:
1) you can wiggle the scars around under your finger, like skin.
2) washing your hair is not a project.
3) the oncologist says come back in 90 days.
When you get there, have some champagne.

Sharon said...

Julie, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all my friends and acquaintainces who have dealt with breast cancer. And every single one of them has come out the other end as vibrant, healthy women. I am certain you will be just as healthy and lovely after the Hell part is over. I too will be sending good thoughts on the 15th.

Maryanne said...

Thinking good thoughts for your swift recovery. Bless you.