Monday, October 6, 2008

Trying to get a few more minutes of life in...

Later today I begin the preps for my surgery tomorrow with an EKG and a chest x-ray and blood tests to see if I can survive anesthesia. Then I go to the hospital to the nuclear medicine dept where they will try to find the lymph duct closest to the tumor, inject radiactive dye into it, wait 3 hours until the stuff migrates into a lymph node and then see if it worked. Not sure what happens if it doesn't. During the surgery, this node or nodes will be removed and examined very closely for signs of cancer. If it is clean, they leave the rest of the nodes alone as there will be a 95-98% chance it isn't in the nodes. If it is, I go back to surgery and have the rest of the nodes removed. So this is an important test and I will wait nervously for 2 weeks for the results but they did tell me upfront, they will treat me as if it were in the nodes as my tumor type is so scary.

I have been trying to run as much as possible because I won't be able to after today for awhile. I managed to jam my toe somehow which hurts until my endorphins kick in-usually about a quarter mile. It's been cooler but sunny and pretty. I've been thinking about that tired cliche of enjoying each day as it may be your last alot. Maybe all this dire thinking is premature as even with the worst info I can find, I still have a 60% chance of surviving 10 years. Overall 25 to 33% people die of breast cancer who are diagnosed with it. Of course I am afraid of the pain I will have to go through to increase my chances above 50%. When people ask how I feel, I say that I am afraid of the pain and hair loss and fatigue. I sometimes mention how unfair it is that I could die and I am relatively young. People feel compelled to tell me how I will beat it and how many of their friends survived with worse cases than mine but what else can they say. I do get annoyed having to justify my feelings and having to defend myself for feeling negative as if this is just an annoying personality trait of mine. I guess I could just say I feel fine and concentrate on that alot of people survive worse and of course, I will be one of those plucky survivors. And who wants to be around a negative person-I do know this and try to keep most of this to myself.

There is a book out there whose basic point is that your positive thinking alone will get you out of cancer alive. Its premise irritated me a whole lot even when I was temporarily cancer free (like how the disabled refer to the 'abled' as being only 'temporarily' abled.) as it is just an intellectualized variation on 'you get what you deserve', a slightly nicer rationalization than God is punishing you like AIDS is punishment for homosexuality nevermind the tranfusion victims (which I very well could have been).

So I have been keeping busy and people have been nice. I did feel slightly dishonest at the Kizer reunion saying how things were just fine. Friday the "moms" came over. I did warn them that this might be the last dinner I could cook for 6 months or so. I tried to replicate some of the food Antonietta made in Italy. My 'bietole' dishes turned out all right. I gave up trying to find Abruzziese cusine in English but the Italian recipes leave out details like amounts. Shanna and Oliver joined the table and Oliver was his most charming. He is a very happy baby and easier than my own. Collectively, we went through 5 bottles of wine. It was nice to be among friends. Saturday, Naomi was preparing for her homecoming after having worked all morning in the dog store and having taken her driving test. We paid much too much for her hair, for which she should reimburse me for though I guess worrying about money is extremely absurd at this point. She was very pretty. B invited me over for dinner, which we ate on her deck with the deer silently feeding nearby. So we had wine and later she made a fire and saw a shooting star. It was very nice.
Sunday I ran through the woods on Traver. I don't go that way often but for the last 3 times, I've run by the same black man taking a walk telling me that Jesus loves me. Maybe he is a cypher. This time he added I was losing weight. J came over and we went to Ferndale to the "Fly Trap" and I got their excellent pho. We went for a walk in this new park in Southfield, which was actually closed but we slithered under the fence. It was pretty. We then went back to Ann Arbor to go to the gelato bar at the new Whole Foods. Sadly their gelato isn't as good as even the stuff in the little Italian towns but it will have to do.
Need to run so we can go have a "French lunch" before all my appointments.

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