i am not infallible

another week down, another week starting. happy labor day to everyone, both south and north of the (canadian) border.

the whole avocado-knife in hand thing was stupidly upsetting. stupidly because it got into my head. people cut themselves in kitchens all the time. i’ve never done it until now. and it’s another reminder to me that i’m not infallible nor am i perfectly healthy or strong. sitting on the floor and bleeding stunk. i felt helpless and probably got more upset by letting my mind wander forward towards chemo and is this how chemo is going to be some days, sitting on the kitchen floor crying?

beyond seeing how well my at-home care team responded, the highlight of it all was that my mom–highly allergic to cats mom who is making a big sacrifice for me by being around this kitten–picked up whiz kitty and pet him, because she didn’t want him to “worry” about me sitting on the floor looking greenish. now if that’s not a heroic feat of strength, i don’t know what is.

i had some good news this week. the genetic tests came back, and 95% of me is BRCA negative. while we fight with the insurance company to pay for the second test on the other 5% of my genome, i feel pretty good that i now have only a 1% chance of carrying the gene. talk about a time when living the high life is in the 99%! hopefully we’ll get the insurance fiasco resolved this week and have full knowledge of my situation going forward.

my echocardiogram shows my heart function as completely normal and healthy. that’s a good baseline to be going into chemo with. let’s hope it doesn’t change. the nice german tech when asking who my doctor is, said “oh, they brought out the best, the big guns for
you.” after the slight panic that i even need the big guns, that knowledge ultimately gives me comfort.

the pet/ct was something i wouldn’t want to do every day. the highlights were:

  • the radioactive dye. well, not really a highlight but…interesting. before the tech inserted the dye through my IV, we had a conversation like this:  tech, “the dye will make you feel like you wet yourself.”  me: “how will you know i didn’t wet myself.” tech, “good point.” she was speaking the truth as it had that effect. the dye floods through you in a fast warm whoosh that lasts for a minute or so. it was particularly crazy in my lips, toes, and fingers. and i (thankfully) haven’t had that full pee-pants feeling in over thirty years and i don’t want it again any time soon.
  • dave matthews band. the tech was about my age and rattled off what music she had to offer during the scans to make being still in a tube for twenty-five minutes go by faster. she brought me back to my poser-hippie phase in high school, rocking out to DMB jam sessions as riverport in STL.

the pet/ct works in a really cool science way. once the IV is started, they inject you with a sugar. cancer cells have fast metabolisms, so are using sugar at a higher rate than normal cells. the dye that’s injected travels to cells that are fast metabolizers. so the scans will light up areas with cancer. i’m so hopeful it’s just contained to my breast and only one lymph node. i’m just not ready for  metastatic anything right now.

getting a test on a friday is bad enough to wait through the weekend. having it be a holiday weekend is really dreadful. i don’t get results until tuesday. i hate this on a few levels, but mostly it feels eerily familiar from when had my biopsy on a friday and the mind-numbing results that i have cancer communicated to me on a tuesday. let’s hope we don’t have a repeat performance.

beyond your continued sweetness and surprises every day, mike mentioned my dentist. I had to cancel an appointment later this fall because of chemo.  i was bummed about this because who doesn’t love that feeling of having their teeth cleaned? and keeping your mouth clean during chemo is apparently very important. having to wait another eight months to be cleared for this seemed like a strange punishment on top of everything else. i offered to pay the cleaning fee because insurance doesn’t cover cleanings but every six months and i am only four months in. he called me back, got me in before his vacation, and gave me a complimentary cleaning. on top of that, his office staff were all wearing their breast cancer ribbons and sent me off with a bouquet of flowers and beautiful card. i know people cry at the dentist all the time, but this time the reasons were a bit different (side note: if any SF folks need a dentist, i have an amazing one).

acts of kindness like this remind me how good people are.  and i hope all of you feel this kindness coming back to you. i’m enjoying me last few days port-free before i begin the real work of cancer. i’m sleeping fine except some more dreams that wake me up. most notably: mike and i at a bar trying to find him a new wife. he asked me to check out some blonde’s hips.  i don’t necessarily think of mike as a hip guy, frankly. and after being awake for awhile now, i realize that this didn’t actually happen and therefore i cannot rationally be mad at him.

before i sign off, i want to share a big hug back to our friends in ireland who sent us this picture. we miss all of you too!

more soon and continued thanks for all of your generous and loving selves-Image


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