Good Day, Sunshine

I got the results of my biopsy today. For those of you just tuning in, I have been having some pain in my groin and it was determined that the lymph nodes there were swollen and enlarged. It appeared that the cancer had spread to them; however to make sure, I got a biopsy of the nodes.

They’re NOT cancerous!

Can you believe it?! Everyone was happily surprised (cue the above song in my head). It had really seemed as though the biopsy was a formality and that they must be cancerous, but they’re not!

So what does this mean?

A few things:

  1. The cancer has not spread. I already have the mass in my pancreas and significant lymph node involvement. These have responded dramatically to the chemotherapy. If the lymph nodes in my groin had turned out to be cancer, then the chemo drug I’m on wouldn’t have worked as well as we thought, and we would have to worry about continuous spreading of the disease.
  2. I don’t have to alter or add anything to my chemotherapy regimen. Since they’re not cancer, it means that my chemo drug IS working as well as we want it to, and I don’t need to change a thing about my routine. Adding another chemotherapy drug could have meant additional side effects like losing my hair, lower blood counts, more pain, etc.
  3. I get to stay in my chemo routine. I mentioned this above, but to explain in more detail, we chemo patients learn our routines once we get into a chemo regimen. We learn what days are good, what days are bad, and what side effects to expect. If a new chemo drug is added, it’s like starting over again. We have new good and bad days to adjust to and new side effects to learn and to navigate. Being able to stay in my current routine is much easier on me.
  4. Going forward, I will continue the Gemzar (chemo drug) schedule — three weeks on, one week off. Scans (PET and CT) will be every three months. This will continue until a) the Gemzar stops working, or b) the Gemzar becomes toxic to my body. The end date of this chemo cannot be predicted; we just watch and see what happens.
  5. As far as what caused the lymph nodes to be painful and swollen, we don’t know. And quite honestly, we don’t care because it’s NOT CANCER.

But God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear, but along with the temptation he will also make the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NWT)

I am so grateful that God knows our limitations and provides us with what we need to endure different trials. I’m so thankful for this news. It feels like someone just added more time to my timer — took one big spin backwards on the dial.

This is the most optimistic I’ve felt since my re-diagnosis. It’s the first time I’ve breathed a sigh of relief, that I’ve thought of my expiration date as possibly being years away instead of months away. Researching and planning our big trip in June fills me with excitement instead of trepidation.

Today is a Good Day, Sunshine.



Chemo Teaching & More

Today I had something called “Chemo Teaching.” Basically this means that one of the Nurse Practitioners on staff tells me all of the possible side effects of Chemotherapy, and then explains what is really likely to happen.

Nausea is likely, but I already have two prescriptions to help with that. Plus, I will receive anti-nausea meds ahead of the Chemo infusion. Fatigue is possible, as is anemia. My white blood cell count will be monitored very closely.

I’m likely to lose weight, but retain water and appear puffy. My hair will be gone within one to three weeks. Tonight I discussed this with the kid. He laughed when I said that I will be “bald,” but he thinks he will get used to it. He’s not quite on board with buzzing his head as a show of solidarity. And that’s OK. We cannot expect too much of a nine-year-old whose mom has Cancer and is going through Chemo. Both are scary words for him.

Between the time change and the anxiety of the diagnosis, I am only sleeping about six hours a night. Therefore, I am unreasonably excited about having my procedure tomorrow and being under anesthesia. A whole day of sleep is wildly appealing to me.

Speaking of tomorrow’s procedure … I am having something called a Port or Porto-Cath put in; it connects directly to my blood vessels. This is the site from which I will receive Chemo and have blood drawn. I will also have something called a Sentinel Node Biopsy. When I had my breast MRI, one of the lymph nodes lit up. The Sentinel Node Biopsy will help to determine how many — if any — nodes are involved.

In preparation for tomorrow, I was instructed to shower tonight and tomorrow morning with antibacterial soap. Tonight, in hopes of being able to blissfully unwind (yeah, right) I took a leisurely shower. I washed my hair and face, used the antibacterial soap, and shaved my legs and under-arms. As I completed this, I realized that I pay more attention to what my surgeon may or may not glean from my shaving or lack of shaving than to how my husband feels about it. Sadly, I want my surgeon to think I have it all together (Ha!), more so than my Hubs. Sorry, babe … maybe it just means I know that you won’t judge.

Now I will watch two more of my crushes: Shemar Moore and Matthew Grey Gubler. Criminal Minds is my fave show. Please oh please … could one of you show up in my dreams tonight?