Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today is a Wonderful Day

After an absolutely miserable week last week, today is a wonderful day! (No, this is NOT a political editorial LOL, even though this IS a wonderful day politically as well!)

Many of you who know me, know that I struggle with a very severe form of MS. With the latest flare of the disease, I've required a ventilator and supplemental oxygen to breathe adequately, a wheelchair, and a gastrostomy feeding tube. Since I can no longer swallow and don't have a gag reflex, I get medication, "food" (if you can call it that), and fluids all through a tube that is hooked up to a pump -- running 175-225 ml per hour, 18-20 hours a day. The treatment for this form of the disease is high dose chemotherapy, which I have been getting off and on for much of my adult life. It has kept me alive and functional, but it hasn't been easy. I started this treatment protocol in 2005 and I've been getting chemo (and all the headaches that go with it) ever since.

Last week, the G-tube "broke". The internal part separated from the external part - it happens, but it couldn't have happened at a worse (or, actually, better) time. My surgeon was out of town at a conference, due back the next day. It took a full 24 hours to get it reinserted, and then a follow-up CT to check placement showed a breast lump. Follow-up mammography was recommended, and when the doctor's office called the central booking department, they scheduled me for an appointment at the end of November.

End of November, you say? That, they claimed, was the best they could do. Oh, and if she doesn't have her old films from where she lived and had her mammos before, the radiologist won't do the exam. Say what???!!! That's ABSURD! No, I had been told this last year when they declined to schedule me for a routine annual mammo, that's the rule: no previous films, no exam.

And now I had something in my breast. I couldn't feel it, but the CT saw it. If I was absolutely freaking, DH was beside himself. There is breast and ovarian cancer in my mother's family and I share a statistically significant risk of cancer of these organs with many, many women, some of whom I'm related to, many of whom are already living this nightmare.

"Double mastectomies," my husband announced. "If this is anything close to ductal, you don't need them, get rid of them both. We aren't taking any chances. You're more precious than your breasts."

My DH is not a hearts and flowers kind of guy - he gave me a pressure cooker for my birthday last year (now that's a subject for a future post for sure!). I was touched and humbled by his eloquent profession of his love for me. DH called directly to the mammography unit and had an appointment for me yesterday. The radiologoist met with us both as soon as the exam was done and he had the biggest, sunniest grin on his face when he walked into the conference room where we waited. He said, "I love to give this kind of news. The CT looked suspicious but this test is much more definitive. Everything's fine." The sigh of relief we both gave could have propelled a sailboat. I have had issues with fibrocystic changes causing questions on mammos in the past - this was more of the same. Nothing to worry about.

And today, I am scheduled for my last chemotherapy treatment of this very long protocol. I've never looked forward to a treatment the way I am looking forward to today. I'm looking forward to whatever improvement I get from this treatment -- it has been helping enormously -- but even moreso, I'm looking forward to being done, to getting my life back, to moving on.

Yes, today is a wonderful day!

1 comment:

Christi said...

Oh my gosh girl! I am so sorry that you are having to go through all of this. {{{HUGS}}} My thoughts and prayers are with you.