Saturday, August 28, 2010


The day after my last post, I saw Rad Onc. He was shocked that I am still toting Clyde around, he feels very strongly that I have it removed. I asked the receptionist if Rad Onc was normally so pessimistic, she didn't have an answer.

Thursday, I went for my IV infusion, so I talked to Big Onc about Clyde. I said I just needed a plan. So, we have a plan. On September 17th, Surgeon will be seen, he may biopsy Clyde with every one's blessing. That gives me a good 6 weeks after radiation to try and have a chance for good wound healing.

That is why we haven't biopsied yet, radiated tissue doesn't heal well. The nurse told me of a patient that spent 53 days in hospital from a radiated wound that wouldn't heal. 53 days in hospital!! I can't even imagine what would happen if I had to face a long hospitalization like that. Who would move in and take care of my kids, who would take care of the babies I babysit, no work, no money.... so I need to heal.

So at least now we have a plan. Perhaps Clyde will be gone by then. He is turning a little dark, that is weird. If he is necrotic tissue, what if it eats through my skin. My sister pointed out that it may be dark from bruising as people have been poking at him all week, I like that theory.

I have asked work to start giving me more patients. I need to assume that I am getting better and need to find my new normal. Before cancer, I was on the fast track to get out of debt, paying off everything with the intention of being debt free by the age of 50 (including student loan and hopefully the house). The past year, nothing has happened except more debt, more interest and student loan in deferment for the year. I am so grateful that I was able to defer my student loan. Not making that payment freed up my meager salary for food and electricity.

But, my year of deferment is almost up, my treatments are pretty much over except for my IV tri-weekly. Time to believe that this is behind me and get back on track.

Which makes me wonder what the lesson to be learned in all this is. I feel like I was snatched out of my life, put through a meat grinder for a year and now I am plopped back into my life. The past year, interest has accrued, paint has pealed, yard has become overgrown, and now I need to hop back in and repair all the damage in my meat grinded state.

I have learned to be in the moment a little better, but that is only because my chemo brain can only focus on one thing. I have learned to crochet, not sure that is a life changing skill. My kids have become a more independent once I nag them. I do make more eye contact with people, one of my patients said I really seemed "plugged in" to my patients, I notice things that a lot of people don't.

I want to be all enlightened and spewing inner peace. And I would like it now, damn it. Tee hee.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


First of all, as I typed in today's date, I realized it is my father's birthday. He passed away when I was 18. I miss you Dad.

As I typed in "father", I didn't capitalize it....when I type in "Mother", I capitalize it, it is a proper noun when I am referring to my Mom. But "Father" sounds like I am talking about God when I capitalize it. Hmmm, my weird brain.

OK, I saw surgeon and he was prepared to cut out Clyde, scalpel was on the table. But, after looking me over again, he has now decided that Clyde is a blop of necrotic tissue caused by radiation that my body will reabsorb. OK, I'll buy that. It doesn't sound appealing, like I need maggot therapy or something to eat this dead thing sitting on my chest.

He is leery about cutting since I am all radiated and may not heal. Then, I would have an open wound which could be very problematic in my immunocompromised state.

So, Clyde and I cohabitate in this body until my little white blood cells eat him.

The kids and I are going through another transition. I have been sick for a long time, all chemo-ing and stuff, I have let so much slip by as far as doing chores and things like that. My first priority was the homeschooling, so if I didn't get the corners clean, that was OK as long as I was vertical long enough for school time.

I am starting to feel better, ready to start scrubbing the corners. The kids are not thrilled, they have become used to a Mom that naps and leaves them alone. They say I was nicer during chemo.

I need to find a happy medium, slowly integrating a new system into our household. Since it is just the kids and I, we can make any rules we want. We discussed this over lunch yesterday. One rule they would like imposed is storing the ketchup in the cabinet, not the fridge. They really enjoy restaurant ketchup since it is room temperature.

I am stressed out about the state of the union in my home and family dynamic and they just want warm ketchup.

Why does ketchup say "refrigerate after opening" but all restaurants leave it on the table all the time?

In the back of my mind, I am freaking out a little about all this cancer business. There have been a couple of deaths recently and it is scary how quickly this shit can turn for the worse.

I need to find that balance of living in the moment while being aware of how quickly this can go to hell and being prepared for that.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I go see surgeon today to see what he thinks about Clyde. The generalized swelling as gone down in the chest, so I am pretty sure that it was just inflamed from the radiation. Clyde, however, is still hanging tough. He looks more red and angry but that is just because the rest of my skin is returning to its normal color.

I still feel optimistic that Clyde is not cancerous, still feeling the pus-filled abscess warm fuzzies.

It has been a pretty good week. Homeschooling is going well, kids jumped right back into it after the summer break.

I think I will sky dive on my cancerversary.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


This past week I developed a new area swelling in my scar site. I did go back to Rad Onc who sent me to surgeon.

It was nice seeing surgeon again, he is the one that told me I had cancer. He has a special place in my heart. He looked at both bumps, Clyde and Oma. Oma is the fluidy new swelling which he wasn't concerned about and said I could do my lymphatic drainage massage to that area without worry that I was just spreading "cancer juice" around.

Regarding the hard and tender Clyde, he thinks (fingers crossed) it could be an infection. So he gave be antibiotics, did an ultrasound and stuck a needle in there trying to drain it. He couldn't get anything out of it, but we are going to think infected pus pocket for now.

Next Friday, I will go back and he will see if it needs to be cut out. He did not think it is cancer. For some reason, his opinion makes me feel so much better. When other docs say it is probably not cancer, I assume they are lying to keep my spirits up. When surgeon says it, I believe him, tact is not his strong suit.

So for the next week, I get to do the "happy pus filled abscess dance" since that is what I believe for now. Things can turn on a dime, but this is what I believe today and that is good.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Radiation is finished and my skin is healing pretty well. I have a lovely area of burnt, crusty flesh that I have to slap myself to keep from picking. Everything on that side is tight. When I raise my arm, it feels like I am ripping muscle off the ribs.

But, it is getting better quickly.

Saw Big Onc, he said I will still be cooking for six weeks. If the new bump (Clyde) is cancer, we are cooking it. I can't scan for 3-4 months as everything would glow right now. So, I will stay in 9/21/09 mindset, the day before I received the initial biopsy results. But I am not quite as stressed as I was on 9/21. On 9/21, I was full of fear. Today, I am not full of fear, just mild anxiety. Been there, done that, can do it again if needed.

I do refuse to spend the next three months freaked out about the "maybe-s".

As much as I want to smack people when they say this, I am going to say it (and then duck), "It is what it is".

I would like to know what the hell it is, though. Patience, patience...

By the time I scan again, it could be gone and we may never know. Why is it so important to know if Clyde is cancer, wouldn't it be more important to know that it is gone? That is what everything thinks. In my mind, it causes me concern that my cancer has no respect for authority and will grow despite being chemo-ed and radiated. That scares me, a tumor that grows after treatment is one thing, a tumor that grows during treatment is another.

I typed threatment, threat ment, ha ha. What if Clyde is just laughing at my threats like a smart ass teenager. Do they make military school for tumors?