Today ended the first weekend since the diagnosis a week ago and it was very hard to wait two long days and have no contact with any doctor. It's only been a week since we found the cancer but I've lived twelve years in that week. Waiting is hard.
And now I'm waiting more because the MRI scheduled for tomorrow has been canceled because the MRI machine at St. Lukes is broken. One day longer to wait and one day longer before we're able to start any treatment. Extremely frustrating.
Especially since I've realized that I can still feel a lump. We knew they didn't get it all when they did the surgery a week ago today, but I thought that what was left would only be microscopic. I mean, if I can feel it, why couldn't they see it during surgery? (If I started believing that my outcome was in my doctors' hands, I would go crazy with worry!) It's odd to sit here knowing that I've got cancer inside me still. It's odd to feel the lump and think, "That's cancer."
But after reading about cancer, treatment, and therapy for an entire weekend, I can see benefits to starting chemo before having the rest of the tumor removed. And after some heart-felt prayer time last night, I think I'm actually leaning towards going ahead with the mastectomy as opposed to only a lumpectomy. The reasons are too daunting and long to write out, so I won't try and fill you in right now. But your prayers in that direction would be helpful. Deciding on a mastectomy isn't a single decision- as I'm learning when it comes to cancer, there are always lots of choices. There's partial mastectomy, skin-sparing mastectomy, full mastectomy (which includes removing chest muscles), double mastectomy.
Then you decide whether to do an immediate reconstruction during the same surgery as the mastectomy (which leaves you under anesthesia for hours which can be dangerous) or you can do the reconstruction later (which has serious emotional affects- you're left with a hole, a nothing, where there used to be much), or no reconstruction at all.
And if you decide on reconstruction then you need to pick to use implants or tissue from another part of your body. From there you'd have to decide from which part of the body to remove the tissue.
There are a lot of things to think about. And since we're still just waiting on more tests to get a better picture of the specifics of my cancer, I have lots of time to think of all of these things.
I have bad moments every day. But most of them pass quickly. I've always got the decision to dwell on the bad moment or surrender it to God. And while I have chosen twice in 7 days to be angry for a bit and not immediately take my sorrow to God, most of the time I'm quick to pray and get the big picture.
I've watched videos on youtube where women my age go through chemo, shave their heads, show off their drainage tubes post-surgery, and never mention God through any of it. They thank people for all of their "kind thoughts" (rather than prayers) and it makes me ache that they are in the same position as I am- completely vulnerable- and that they still don't see God. I can't imagine God's pain as He watches them choose to struggle alone when He's so close and so willing to take the pain.
Pain teaches us so much. There hasn't been a day yet when I haven't said at least half a dozen thank yous to God for allowing me to go through this because of what I'm learning in the process. I look forward to those I might meet in chemotherapy or support groups who are still walking it alone. I pray now that I, through my faith, can have a profound impact on them. Pray with me, please.