I told the lab technician that my blood was very much in demand lately and must have a high gold content because since my cancer diagnosis I have never had less than 6 vials of blood drawn. This, I say, must be the reason why she can't find a single vein in my right arm that will let blood. She is kind and laughs at my lame joke because she knows that the searching, boring needle is painful and laughter better than a left hook to the jaw.
It is my first visit to my new oncologist's office, which is also the local cancer center, and everyone here is very nice. Really, too nice. I am set on edge by their overwhelming sympathy and sad eyes. It is making me irritable. I know that these people have seen a great deal of pain and suffering...I just don't want it transferred to me. Can't they see past my bulging drains and shaky gait to my inner conqueror?
All of the volunteers here are cancer conquerors and they are a spunky bunch. My volunteer took one look at my drains and said "Tram Flap?" "No," I responded, "Implants with a revision." "I hate my Tram Flap, you chose the right thing." We compared our infections, deadhesions and cellulitis and I was reassured by her frank and matter of fact friendliness. It was good to discuss it with someone who understood. We both stood for a moment on the same side of the valley and sighed, agreeing that our bygone travel was some gnarley shit. And then we said goodbye.
I was passed from hand to hand before I met The Man. I really like him, smart and kind with a good sense of humor. He responded really well to our active style of cancer management and we were grateful for that. Not every physician appreciates that quality in a patient. Patients acting as their own advocates can be very time consuming.
We discussed my tumor pathology, size (1.3cm), focal structure (3), hormone receptor status (100%, phenomenal), Her2 (0), Oncotype score (4, also phenomenal) and how very lucky I was to have been hit in the chest, as mammography would have been unlikely to uncover this until it was quite a bit larger. Typically, a woman as young as I would be subjected to chemotherapy, because I have so many years left and everyone wants to be sure it won't come back. But because of my phenomenal hormone receptor status and Oncotype scores we can omit that and use only Estrogen inhibitors which will throw me into menopause or inhibit postmenopausal estrogen production. This will all depend on where I am on the reproductive timeline.
He said we did the right things. He said my chance of with reoccurance with treatment is 3-5%. I still can't believe it. He said I could thank G.d for that horse, I will have a great story and some scars, but I will be showing those off until I am very, very old.