Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ready, set.... NO!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
First I want to say THANK YOU to everyone and all for your great messages, thoughts, words of encouragement and more. They are appreciated more than you know.
So, today. It has been one of great emotion. Last night I couldn’t sleep, I cried, I paced, and I thought, oh how I thought. You know when you make that decision, the one you have been tossing around in your head over and over again until you can’t toss no more? Right, you know? So, I made mine with last night’s post and yet I had buyer’s remorse….. We have all had it, and it can be an awful feeling. Something was tugging at me that maybe I wasn’t there yet, or something just wasn’t quite right with my decision…. Something was, ummmm, missing.
I woke up this morning, well not really woke up for I wasn’t asleep, but rather decided to get up from bed and take a walk with the dogs. They were ready, well they are always ready, I was restless, and besides the alarm had already gone off and I was just laying there. You see my normal routine is alarm off at 4:45, husband gets up, I get up right after, take the dogs for nice walk, relax and get ready for work. So, I am walking the dogs, and we are walking, and walking probably an hour or so, and my decision is haunting me.
I get a phone call around 8:05am and it is Joanne Stutzman from Samaritan and she is part of some breast cancer support staff function through my oncologist’s office. I apologize for I don’t know yet her full title, but she is there to help me muck through the swamp.  We talk. And talk. I was thankful, yet overwhelmed. I meet with her tomorrow at 2:30 to really go over things, and I remember one other bit of information from the very long conversation, and she said it much more eloquently than I am going to now, for I am just going to throw it out there. She wants me to know that Corvallis doesn’t have all the resources one might need to get through this although there are many. And wants me to know Dr. Faddis, my oncologist is one of the very best, but in the reconstruction arena she wants to make sure I know there are others out there. ……
WHAT! The piece of my discomfort, my indecision, my remorse, right there in that one comment. What a relief, but was a blow to the decision, and here come the tears, get out the buckets! Yes, it lasted for quite awhile. I sat and let it all out with my dogs in my lap (they are NEVER allowed on the yellow chair), Gypsy (my cat) on the armrest, and Zipper (the other cat) on the floor, staring at me. I stopped sobbing eventually, maybe it was when my legs went to sleep due to the weight of the dogs on my lap (they aren’t small), and put my big girl pants on and told myself - I will find the best, I deserve the best, and will get the best to take care of me. Simple. I have control, just relax, and take control.
I got myself together, showered, called a friend, and we had lunch. Friends are amazing people, we all have them, we are them, but we aren’t all good at being friends, right? We could be better, stay in touch more, get together more, all those things we stop doing because of life, it’s normal - that’s life.
Now my lunch could have gone either way, I didn’t go into it expecting some kind of therapy out of it or any warm fuzzies, just needed something different. Now, this is a new-found friend (I am sure she will read this), one I don’t know well, but enough, that’s all, just enough to feel comfortable sitting, eating, talking. We do have things in common – we are both head coaches, love athletics, and have husbands – now there’s a lasting friendship, right? We talked shop for I am helping her put on a tournament and getting my duties to make sure I help her make it the best it can be. We laugh, and that felt good, just to laugh, and about something other than cancer. But then she did something I really didn’t expect and didn’t know I needed, she says, “So HOW are you?” And we dropped shop, and talked.
How did I feel, how is Jeremy doing, what are your next steps, are you Ok, want a drink? All things that we need at times like this, for not just me but both parties. We talked about things I didn’t even realize I felt or knew, about things that really were dumb but  I felt them anyways, about me, really about the inside of me. Not interrupted, no distractions, just focused. I walked away feeling like I had a plan, but for what? It didn’t matter, I gained more strength. I am in control, take control.
At 4:00pm I, along with my sister, met with Dr. Faddis. This appointment was originally scheduled to make my decision and get it on the books so we were ready to go. Now it was more of an informative appointment to learn about all my testing.
1)      My MRI showed an issue in my left breast (this would be the other one) and we would want to get an ultrasound on it and go from there. If I chose mastectomy then we won’t do anything for it will all be coming out anyway.
2)      My BRCA test results are not back yet, we are still waiting.
3)      If “chemo” is something I have to do because of my oncotype (refer to my first or second post for explanation), it would be some kind of estrogen blocker (Tomoxofin – not sure how to spell it)because of my high levels of estrogen and chemo if need be. This could send me into menopause, I will have symptoms as such.
4)      My sister needs to be tested, it does run in families. I hope she does that.
5)      My HER-2 test was negative. The doctor gave me a “pound” so I am sure that is terrific!
6)      We set the date for surgery, but that will be changing, so I won’t list it.
7)      He set me up with an appointment to meet a radiation oncologist so I can become more educated before I follow through with any decision.
8)      I learned that most women in my age group decide to do a double mastectomy and reconstruction due to our decades of life left to live.
9)      He said I am doing really well with all of this. I smiled.

Tomorrow I meet Joanne. Somehow I have a new found strength - thank you friend.


  1. Hey Steph, you are very strong and will surely beat this cancer. Youre amazing how you can keep a smile (even through the tears) on your face as you dig down to find your inner strength to deal. keep it up!! AND I applaud you for the great (difficult as it may be) blogging. Hugs to you. jo

  2. you are so right, it can be very difficult and at times makes me sob. But when I finish, I feel relieved. What an amazing thing.... oh technology...... thank you

  3. Hi Steph - At one point during all of this did you find out the BRCA test results?

  4. Yes britt, it is much later I find out. It is an 18, right Anthe cusp. I wrote about I think november, and titled my score and then other posts after with the oncologists I explain it more and what it means