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The Big C

Day 7 – May 24, 2017 Well… I officially have cancer. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 3 ER+ PR+ and had to do a biopsy of my lymphnode to see how far this cancer has gone. One week ago my life was fine. One year ago I was snuggling my brand new baby. And today I face a year of chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation, weakness, sickness, pain. But from the moment I got out of the car this morning to walk in to get results from my biopsy. I decided that satan was not going to win. That I was going to seek joy each day and that this battle was for me to win. More tomorrow.

That night was hard. I cried. Laying down at the end of a day where your brain just swarms through all that you know to now be true is difficult. But when I woke up the day seemed bright. I was snuggling with my 12 month old baby and promptly at 7 heard my three year old knocking on her door to wake up. My girls give me purpose and always bring humor into my day. Seeing a good friend was a nice distraction this morning. Grocery shopping has a whole new meaning as I am on the beginning of a very strict diet. Anti-inflammatory diet…probably something I should have been on a long time ago. Went to get my teeth cleaned, one of those “to do “ list items for before chemo. Pretty crappy, to do list to have to complete. Came home to my girls and their smiles and hugs. My hubby pulled me in close for a hug. All in all it wasn’t a terrible day.

Day 9 – Scans

Today we took Halen to her last day of pre-school as a family. We thought we were going to have a day to play, so we went to the Domain to eat breakfast. On our way we got devastating news that the cancer cells had spread to my lymphnode in my armpit. So that put us on a mission to get all my tests and scans scheduled. We spent a bit of time on the phone trying to make that happen. Finally we went to sit down for breakfast around 10:30 at The Steeping Room, and I received a call that they could fit in my bone scan and CT scan that day, and not to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything at all that day. Our next mission was to make sure the girls were taken care of. Julie rallied to pick up Halen from school and my dad and Amy rallied to drop whatever they were doing to come pick up Henley as we went to my appointment. After the girls were taken care of, I was filled with fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of “bone injection” … I pictured a giant needle going deep into my bone. Thankfully, I over-exaggerated this, a funny, older man put an IV into my arm, took some blood to check my kidneys, then put a radioactive solution into my arm that would seep into my bones so they would show up on a scan. Easy peasy! I was so relieved.

Then I went in for my CT scan, the guy was pretty funny. He told me they would put an activator solution into my IV that would taste warm and metallic in my mouth and then promptly make me feel like I peed, but assured me that I did not actually pee. This gave Evan and I a good laugh. CT scan was quick, and then we were able to go eat. We walked over hand in hand to Central Market to indulge on some yummy foods on my diet list. We sat down with dad and Amy and our Henley girl. It was really nice. Then I went back for the completion of my bone scan. That took 30 minutes and I just prayed the entire time that the cancer cells had not spread. I was grappling for good news, I needed it after the blow that morning. I prayed for the machine, for the technician, for my girls, Evan, parents, all my friends, I prayed for God to calm my heart and make me feel okay about praying for asking for the cancer to not have spread. The technician was amazing, a fellow mom, she hinted at me that I shouldn’t worry about this scan over the weekend, then went even farther to have us speak to a doctor before we left who told us our bone scan and CT scan was clear. PRAISE JESUS! Huge victory after the grim news that morning. Exactly what I needed to hear to fight this beast. Drove home to a driveway full of cars, which made my heart so happy. I walked in to some of my favorite people all under one roof, cooking, talking, laughing…just being there for me. I loved that. And Halen and Henley were on cloud 9 having so many people they love there to give them love and attention. It was a good end to a roller coaster of a day.

That night, was another really hard night for me, I had to immediately wean Henley because of the radiation in the tests, I could not nurse her. She screamed all night, and the only way I knew how to soothe her, I could not do. It was heartbreaking for me. She would not take a bottle and was so distraught. Finally at 1 am I had to hand her to Evan so I could go sleep, I had such a hard time putting me first, but I knew my body needed rest. And I knew this was just the beginning of that journey. I have to breathe and take it one step at a time.

Day 10- I woke up and for a brief second thought everything was fine, no cancer, no world turned upside down. And then a moment passed and I realized, this was not a dream, but a new, fresh reality. However, this was a good day, a good distraction. It was Henley’s 1st birthday party, so I was in my element. I was cooking, baking and decorating. Henley’s theme was nursery rhyme, so I coordinated all the food to go with different nursery rhymes… i.e. Humpty Dumpty Sat On a Wall Deviled Eggs, This Little Piggy Got Roast Beef sandwiches, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star sandwiches, etc. Her party was at the park near my mom’s house, it was simple and fun. Henley had a great time. I made her a banana cake with applesauce and Greek yogurt as the icing with blueberries…no sugar. ☺ We had a wonderful time celebrating our little Henley girl.

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