Saturday, March 7, 2009

Enough Already

I don't feel like writing tonight, but I thought I'd give a quick update on today's adventures. Something is seriously wrong with my side. I've no idea what. There is pain when I move and when I don't move and this pain appeared suddenly! It's located on my left side slightly below where I had surgery. Touching one very specific area will send me through the roof. I'm on bed rest. I'm pretending it's nothing and I'm not thinking about it being cancer. But if I'm real quick and can stand the pain I will push on that area and I do feel some sort of small lump. I'm sure it's my imagination.

Friday, March 6, 2009

As Dictated by Allison Strickland

On the day that my mom got the phone call saying she has cancer here is what I remember:

I remember everyone was crying (Sheri note: by everyone I think she means me). I didn't know what was going on, because no one would tell me. My mom asked me if I was ok. I had her tell me what made everyone upset. She said she has cancer. When she told me, I was playing on my dad's computer. I was watching funny videos and I couldn't laugh at any of the videos. I started thinking about pink ribbons and my mom.

I heard my dad talking on the phone with the doctor. He told her that his mom had died of breast cancer. That was when it really scared me. I guess I didn't know that his mom had died of breast cancer. I never knew her. She died when I was very little.

From that day on me, my brother and dad started praying every night before going to bed and that really helped.

My mom is recovering from her surgery and that is really really good. It helps me feel better. I am scared about her starting chemo because I know the she will lose her hair and become very very weak.

Something good is that a lot of people have been reaching out to us and bringing us meals. I think that is really awesome. But like my dad said we need to find as many blessings in this as we can.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Don't Be Fooled...Cancer Is Not Your Friend

There are days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed. Honestly. Today was one of those days for me. It happened again! The same, but different - ya know? I almost don't want to tell this story, but I feel I need to, so the people who are reading this can attempt to get into the scary brain of a cancer person.

Here's what happened:

I'm all day online searching, researching, and searching again for my chemo answers. When I wasn't online, I was on the phone. Most of you probably knew this, because I was on the phone with YOU! Right now there are 100 people in this world, reading this and nodding their head thinking, "yep, she's talkin' about me." When I'm not on the phone, I'm back online writing and answering e-mails. I finally looked at the clock with my blurry little eyes and noticed it was almost 2pm. My children were going to be home from school and I haven't done anything. Ok, most days I don't do anything anyway, but I'm usually showered by 2pm. Ok, that's not exactly truthful either. Whatever! I was tired of sitting around.

I know I'm going to go somewhere fun and exciting, but I hadn't decided where yet. I take my shower and as I'm getting out, my cell phone rings! It's a sign! It has to be a sign telling me I need to go buy a new cell phone. Go forth and buyth an iPhone, Sheri - that's what I heard anyway. Well, because I had to be home when the children got off the bus at a little after 3:30, I knew I needed to rush. I go into my closet and grab my favorite blue jeans (old, old, Levi's that are a tad too big and probably should have been retired 5 years ago) and my Duke sweatshirt.

I'm going to pause here for a moment and say it is still "weird" for lack of a better word, to get dressed and not have to worry about putting on a bra. This is going to take a lot of getting used to, especially if I decide not to have reconstructive surgery (which is the way I'm leaning right now.)

Anyway! I haven't worn my favorite jeans since before my surgery. I know this, because I've only been wearing sweats around the house. When I put on the wonderfully comfortable feel of my Levi' heart stopped. They were HUGE! And I don't mean, "Oh, I've lost a couple pounds since I had surgery and now my pants are a fitting looser." I mean if I had let go of the waist, they were going to hit the floor. My mind started racing how this could be possible. I have been kickin' up the ice cream eating lately and everything. And then it dawned on me! I HAVE been eating a lot of ice cream and chocolates and brownies and cake. (Thanks, people from my church! I love you!) How could I have lost this much weight this quickly? Cancer. But breast cancer doesn't cause you to lose weight. No, but other types of cancers do cause that. Oh God.

My head was spinning. Now what. For a moment I thought I might actually throw up. I felt the tears forming in my eyes as I slid the jeans off. It was about this point that I noticed that those weren't my jeans. They were Tom's. Good grief. I hate this disease.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Losing My Mind

I had to calm down before I could start writing this blog. I was so upset when I got home from the oncologist office that I was crying. My last visit with Dr. Young went so well and now I'm back to wishing I had changed doctors when I had the chance. Unfortunately, I want to be in her drug trial so I have to hang in there. Here's what happened, and once again, I'll backtrack it a little bit:

My original appointment with Dr Young was right after I had my lump removed and it came back as cancer. This is when she told me that it was a small lump, stage 1 and I would only need a lumpectomy and minimal chemotherapy. When I ask her about being triple negative, she responded casually that that was not really that big a deal. I researched it, and I knew it was. Plus, that was the visit she kept pointing up at the skinless poster. I can't stand that poster. I wasn't going to go back to her, but I got alarming news on my MRI and I couldn't get in to see anyone else quickly enough. Dr. Young really seemed concerned during this visit. She told me, according to the MRI, it appeared I have cancer in both breasts and in my lymph nodes. She bumped me up to a stage 2n1 cancer. She told me I needed a double mastectomy and three different types of chemo drugs given all at once for almost 6 months. I felt she was fighting for me!
Which brings us to today. I had a sense of fear going into this appointment. I figured it was nothing more than the final doctor visit before the dreaded chemo began which was bugging me. It turned out to be one nasty day....
Dear Dr. Young,
Dr. Young, you came into my room with such a big smile. You said we finally had good news to celebrate! No cancer in my lymph nodes. You went on to explain that because there was no cancer in my lymph nodes, I could go back to the original treatment plan. Really? The treatment plan that you told Tom you would give me if I were your sister. You SAID if I were your sister you would still only recommend a lumpectomy and 4 treatments of chemo, using only two types of drugs. Today you told me all I had was 2 small tumors, each less than 2 cm. When I tried to correct you, you talked to me like I was a child. I had to tell you that I already had a 1.6 cm tumor removed...the 1.3 cm tumor that was removed was what was MISSED the first time. You said you forgot that I had a lumpectomy done and not a needle biopsy. You aren't especially close with your sisters, are you?
Let's think about this, k? It was after the MRI that you told me that I had cancer in both breasts and in a lymph node. You were wrong. You never mentioned anything about any other tumors in my left breast and do you know why? Because you didn't see it. What you thought was cancer, wasn't. What was cancer, you failed to mention? Remember when that was brought up today about how you didn't know about the second tumor, you said you did know there was "something" there. And you didn't mention this.......... WHY? So, now today I'm your sister again and you looked me in the eyes and told me as your sister, the chemo treatment you would give me would be only 4 treatments with only two different drugs. What a lovely smile when you said I might not lose all my hair.
Dr. Young, right this minute, I do not like you. I do not respect you. I do not believe you care about me living or dying. Right now, Dr. Young, you've left the decision up to me as to which chemo treatment I should have. Do I want the 6 treatments of 3 drugs or the one you'd give your sister: 4 treatments of 2 drugs? You missed seeing a 1.2 cm tumor on the MRI report. What else have you missed?
Love and Hugs.
Your Friend,
P.S. Your shoes were extremely ugly today and I'm not just saying that because I'm so angry with you.

Let the Fun Begin

Tomorrow morning is my appointment with Dr. Young to talk about all the fun details of chemotherapy. We'll go over the full pathology report and talk about all the neat stuff they found when they removed my breasts. You know the really sad part? There is still that part of me that hopes when I go in there that she'll say it was all a mistake. I want her to tell me that after they removed my breasts, they found no cancer; that I never had cancer. I know what you're thinking and I promise you - I PROMISE you - I'm ok if they tell me there was never any cancer in my breasts. Ok, what you're really thinking is that this isn't going to happen. She won't say that to me. Give me a 1 in 10 chance, though, ok?

They've removed my breasts. I still can't look in the mirror when I get out of the shower. BUT! I would rather my breasts were removed needlessly than to live with the fear that one day this cancer will return. Worse than that is the fear that I'm not going to survive this. I'd rather be a grandmother who never should have had her breasts removed than a mother whose children have to watch slowly die. I do think about dying. I can't help it. Everyone is telling me to keep a positive attitude. That's not possible for me to do everyday. I do try.

I don't want chemotherapy. If they tell me there was never any cancer, I wouldn't have to have chemo. I'd be fine with them having made a mistake. I've said my prayers to God asking Him to change His mind, because I don't want to go through all this. Is it really too late now, God? I promise I won't sue the doctors or hospitals or anyone. I'll be happy the cancer was never there. Please.

God has a plan for me - I may not like it; I may get angry, but I know my life is completely in His hands:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven
2 A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace