Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Ramblings and an Anniversary

Lots has been going on since we got back from Ontario. Our bathrooms were finished. I painted them and then had to move on to our bedroom - cause you know - when one room looks stellar all of a sudden all the rooms near by don't look so hot any more. But the painting is done (at least for now - I have some more painting plans for the future) and the bathrooms look a-mazing! And if anyone in the area is planning a reno I have the name of a good contractor who's finishing work is exceptional. Pictures will come eventually - but I have to clean them first!

We've been having some sleep struggles with the kids. Last time I talked about this it was Zach who was having a hard time. An update: He's doing great! He's sleeping well, in his bed, all night - no more floor sleeping! Yippee and Thank you Jesus because it was stressing us out. Unfortunately Ana has taken up the 'I can't sleep' mantra, and it really is like a mantra to her - she starts saying it an hour before bed and makes it true. We've tried a few things over the past weeks but most don't work for more then 1 night.

The other night I decided to get her baby blankie down. This thing is ratty - we burst out laughing when we saw it - it's full of stringy holes, all of which have been lovingly patched and sewn and reknit until it isn't even possible to fix it further. But it's cozy and soft and totally gives her comfort. She's had it 2 nights now and has slept well both nights. We're praying (and begging) that it continues.

A year ago Tuesday (Feb.21) I had my biopsy. The biopsy that confirmed and diagnosed breast cancer. I remember that appointment so vividly and I have to say I was clueless. No one had actually said 'cancer' to me yet but the ultrasound tech was so kind and calm. It was so unlike the brisk efficiency of other routine tests I'd had done. It was slow. And methodically explained. And of course she asked the question that I'd begun to expect. 'You're so young - did you find the lump yourself?'

Looking back I feel like I should have known I had cancer. I even asked to see the biopsy tissue - 2 skinny worms of flesh in some sort of water. Now I know that solid biopsy tissue like that is most likely cancer** but at the time I had no idea. And of course I was told it would be at least a week for the results. So I put it out of my mind, we went away to a funeral and didn't really think about it. Until we came home to 5 messages on the answering machine from my doctor's office asking me to call. The last one from him directly. That's never good.

Now that I'm coming up on my first post cancer mammogram I'm starting to get nervous. I'm starting to think about what if's again and I definitely don't want to do that. I have to go back to what my doc told me last year this time. One step at a time.

One thing that is different then last year is how much I know now about cancer, and the process and I'm realizing ignorance really is bliss! My naturopathic oncologist is suggesting I do a test called the circulating tumour cell test. Not yet done in Canada, this blood test determines if I have cancer cells floating around my blood or not. It would be costly but would give me more information. And should I just get a mammogram or push for an MRI for my yearly screening (also not standard procedure but way more accurate)? Also I have no side effects with Tamoxafen which I'm so glad about but does that mean it's not working? And if not then what?

From everything I've read it's pretty normal to feel uncertain after cancer treatment. You've been focusing on fixing the problem for so long, suddenly you're back at the beginning again - only this time with more knowledge and the hope that the problem really did get fixed (cause lets be honest - chemo is not an exact science). Through all these questions I'm trying to focus on the future, on my family, on feeling healthy and getting back into shape, on not being sick anymore.

And I'm trying to remember all the truth I learned from Jesus this year. His near and never ending presence, his faithfulness, his care and compassion, most of all his supremacy. I'm reminded that we trusted him with the big decisions back in March (surgery), May (chemo) and October (radiation), and we will trust him with these decisions too.

And I have hair! About 2 weeks ago I said 'see ya' to the scarves
hats and wigs. It's short but it's not bald!

**Is this true? I read somewhere that benign tumours are liquid compared to cancerous which are solid but I didn't actually confirm it.