A Booby Prize

Wednesday was a day of doctors. I suppose I should be getting used to that, but so far I haven’t. My surgical follow up was exactly as planned, except for getting a LOOK and a very snarky “and now you’re sore, AREN’T YOU” comment from the surgeon for shoveling that morning. Yeah yeah. Lesson learned. Sadly, even though I’m healing fine and all my franken-ness is now stitch-free, the inside isn’t fully healed (hence the chastisement for shoveling, because heavy lifting/labor could tear scar tissue and cause issues). Therefore, he said wait until after the new year to go back to kickboxing. This was Wednesday morning, before that last test came back and before I met my Oncologist. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

Related: a friend of mine apparently objects to “Frankenboob” not because it’s rude, nor because it’s inaccurate (after all, Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster), but because it does’t “roll off the tongue in a poetic way”. I have the best mental image of him testing, out loud, each different technical and slang term for every part of a breast to find the right combo(he assures me that’s exactly what happened while stuck in traffic the other day). “Frankenboob” will now be “Frankenknocker“. FK for short, which works for me on multiple levels. 

It DOES sounds more lyrical. I have no argument.

Wednesday afternoon I met my team at MN Oncology. It’s ridiculous that FK has a team.

My Oncologist is also very kind and direct, a quality I appreciate since she had less than stellar news. The two tumors I had removed were sent to a lab in California for something called an Oncotype test. Essentially it’s a genetic test done on the tumor itself, which is then plugged into a statistical database that’s been built over however many decades of cancer research of my particular type to spit out a percentage of likelihood my cancer would come back anywhere in the body. The tumor originally found on my mammogram isn’t a big deal: it’s grade 1 (slow growing, not aggressive). That littler one though, that’s the mean one. Grade 3 is more aggressive: my risk factor is too high.

So. I will have a port put into my chest sometime next week and get an electrocardiogram on my heart sometime in the next two weeks (did you know one of the awesome side effects for chemo can be heart damage? I didn’t either.) and on the 16th I’ll start five months of chemo (assuming, of course, that everything goes according to plan, which honestly hasn’t happened since I went in for a routine mammogram). Radiation will start after chemo. There isn’t currently any detectable cancer in my body, just to be clear: the intent of this round of treatment is to kill anything that’s too small to detect so it doesn’t come back anywhere else (that’s what metastatic means – breast cancer with a wandering streak).

There’s a door prize for getting told you’re starting chemo in a couple of weeks. A nurse’s assistant came in to give me a large 3 ring binder full of information, a nice clear list of which drugs are administered when, the side effects, and when I should call the office if side effects are bad. Along with the binder she awkwardly handed me a thermometer, like she KNEW it’s ridiculous. But since three different kinds of fun poison will be dribbled in the port (each session will be a couple hours) and the drugs will kill off good cells and bad ones, my immune system will be sad and slow. Monitoring for fever will be a thing, and apparently adults don’t usually have a thermometer at home, so they give everyone one when treatment starts.

Aren’t I just a barrel of fun these days? Yeah, I think so too.

Kickboxing is off until next fall at the earliest (I’ve sadly already texted the head instructor in Burnsville to ask if we can put my membership on hold or if I should just start over, because it’s too expensive to just let it sit and bill every month for that long). Honestly I’m pretty pissed about that.

I won’t be able to shovel my own driveway this winter after all (looking into snow removal services now). I’m pissed about that too, for the expense and the inconvenience. However, I may not be so pissed about it when I don’t have to bundle up and slide down my driveway. We’ll see.

The rest I don’t know about yet. Not everyone has the same side effects, but I plan for the worst and hope for better. Christmas/Yule stuff will depend entirely on how I react to treatment, which is every other week starting the 16th for two months, then weekly for three more months.

The big question here is will I rock the Telly Savalas look, or will I wig out…I don’t know that yet either.

I suppose I could cancel the appointment I have for a haircut in December, though.

One thought on “A Booby Prize

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