Friday, January 10, 2014

Mixed Signals

The tumors are responding to treatment, but they are sending us mixed responses. It’s pretty irritating.

I had an ultrasound+mammogram the day after Christmas – first thing it the morning! It seemed like a good idea when I scheduled. Did not seem as genius when I was dragging myself out of bed that Thursday. I had some mammograms done first, uncomfortable as always. I was relieved to find that the same ultrasound tech that had done my ultrasounds in the past would be working with me again. She is the perfect mix of no-nonsense but personable. Emphasis on the no-nonsense. I enjoy that in medical professionals, I’m finding.

I hadn’t seen her since I had my breast biopsy in September. I remember her doing my first ultrasound - after I’d found the lump. She smoothed the gel onto my skin with the ultrasound probe and asked me more than once, “How long ago did you notice this?” Looking back, I’ve learned that techs and radiologists can often tell by the way a lump looks via ultrasound, what it is. But staid as she was, I never felt any alarm. I told her: (1) a few months and (2) it doesn’t seem to have grown.

One of my favorite things about her (creepy, since I’ve only seen her three times in my ENTIRE life) is that she takes all my little symptoms seriously. The first time I saw her, I complained about my arm feeling tight when I raised it. Immediately, she ran her ultrasound over it to see if anything was amiss. Same thing this time! I showed her a little tiny bump on my skin that I was obsessing over and she just ran the probe over my skin to see what it was. 

At the end of my mammogram+ultrasound on 12.26, she left me in the ultrasound room and took the pictures to the radiologists to read. When she came she told me that the largest tumor in my left breast had grown since my mammo+ultrasound in September. Some of the other tumors (like one in my lymph node) had shrunk. Well...that's just fabulous. What does that even mean?

I met with my oncologist the following Monday and went over the results. He said that with this response, he recommends that I start Lupron - the injection that will shut my ovaries off - so that I'll further eliminate hormones in my body. Thinking about doing that makes me want to cry. I just don't want to deal with all those pre-menopausal symptoms right now. Especially not acne. I am very vain.

This was our compromise. C and I always said that I'd wait until the first PET scan (after 4 months) to make any changes in treatment. I'll be having a PET scan soon and I guess that will be even more accurate. We'll see what we see then, and adjust treatment accordingly.

In much better news...I was offered a permanent position at work - which I accepted (of course)! I am thrilled!

I've been subbing since February, which was emotionally and financially difficult. Not extremely difficult by any means, but still hard. We are grateful for stability at this time in as many areas of our life as possible. I'm also grateful to be starting a position doing what I love. 

Here's to not living like I'm dying - and just living a good life.