We are going to Camp Comfort for the weekend. Yippee! A chance to get out of the city and spend some time by the water. And there is a possibility that I might be able to stay out there for a whole week. Depending on the pathology results and whether I can change my appointment with Dr. B or not. I'll find out when I call this morning. Then I will pack. I will take this chance if I can get it. My real life in conflict with the scheduling of my medical life? Real life wins - no contest.
Friday morning. It’s six degrees out now, going to twenty-four degrees but it's going to rain all day. The rest of the weekend looks pretty good though for a Camp Comfort excursion. In the low twenties with sun and a mixture of sun and clouds. My kind of weather. We are for sure going to Camp Comfort for the weekend. Yippee! A chance to get out of the city and spend some time in nature. And there is a possibility that I might be able to stay out there alone for a whole week. Depending on whether I change my appointment with Dr. B or not. I'll find out when I call this morning. Then I will pack. And then I will buy food accordingly too. I will take this chance if I can get it. For sure.
We only realized how restricted my summer holiday options are when we tried to arrange a time to visit the kids in Baltimore. It's really only these couple of weekends, right now, and then I am back into treatment and for me summer holiday time will be over. I should take advantage of every bit of this time as much as I can. My husband thinks we're done now. My hair is growing back, I'm visibly getting better. I'm doing more, taking an interest in things and he's in denial that this is only a pause before the next storm, a bit of relief before the next wave of debilitating treatment. And then after that treatment it will be another six weeks before I'm recovered. Twelve weeks. Three months. That's the whole summer right there. Plus add in whatever time it takes to get started, and the two weeks that come between taking all the measurements to create my virtual boob and lymph system and when the actual treatment starts. 14 weeks. Plus. This will take me through to the end of August at least, and into early September before I will feel this good again. And can have this much time for myself and my own life.
And that is if all goes well. That is if they don't find any further cancer. That is if the margins that Dr. B got during the surgery are all clear. That is if there is no further indication of cancer in my lymph nodes. That is if there is no further indication of cancer anywhere else in my body. If any of those things happen then we are on a whole other planet. And me feeling okay and having time to live my own life will be way far away.
And there is one somewhat more promising option that I will take if I get it. If my lymph nodes really are clear, then Dr. M might offer me a partial breast radiation instead of a full breast radiation. In that case the radiation would not affect my lymph nodes, only the breast tissue from around where the cancer was removed. And it would be five intense days instead of four to six intense weeks. I would take that option. It's a trial, so the results are not so guaranteed. But I would still take it. I truly think that once the horse is out of the barn the horse is out of the barn. If my cancer has started to spread from that early lymph node, then it is out beyond the lymph nodes around my breast already. No sense shutting the barn door now. And I might need the lymph nodes. So the metaphor would actually be shutting the barn door, and then attacking it with a flame thrower and damaging it's structure. So. Yes I would take this option. And yes, I hope I get the opportunity.
But. Right now we don't know anything.
Right now I am sitting in this moment of pause. Who knows what is happening. It could be that these occasional pains I've started to feel are not healing pains, but cancer attacking me, it could be that this cancer has done the nightmare thing, and mutated and the warrior cells are already marshalling their army to conquer all. Or it could be that it's all dead, the frontier is quiet, the whole body chemotherapy even killed any baby colon cancer cells and I can go forward with the rest of my life now, not only escaped this cancer, but knocked off a bunch of potential other cancers too. Either way. Who knows. Nobody knows. And even when the pathology report comes in, and the CT scan, it will still only be a best guess.
That's the moment I'm living in right now.
My husband is not in this moment with me. He is deep into his work, running three projects all at once. And he is assuming that I get stronger and better all the time in the background and soon I will be well enough to go on long road trips again, and then maybe we'll do a weekend to Baltimore. And then maybe three weeks out west again just like last year.
What will freak him out big time is if the news is something bad, and I go for my last time on earth full bore adventure self indulgence before I deal with further treatments, as I'm deciding how to deal with bad news. I won’t just go back into treatment and do as the doctors say at that stage - stage four. I’ve already decided that. He won't be ready for that at all. He just won't be able to get his brain from where it is now to there as fast as me. I will go ahead anyway.
Because there is no way that I am going to sleep walk through a stage 4 diagnosis. I will get in front of that right away.
In the meantime. We wait. And I may as well wait at Camp Comfort. And I may as well treat myself to a bit of nature break. My husband will be fine without me for a week. He has a lot of work to do in the city.
And I won't cry if I do have to see Dr. B next Tuesday. That means that I'll know the pathology and prognosis then. Right then. So, that'll be something, even if I miss out on a week's holiday at Camp Comfort.
And here we are. Friday. In the meantime.
Yesterday was a good day. I did the core exercises, plus the new one pound weight upper body weight training additions and extra stretches for the upper body too. I wrote them down. I wrote down my whole current exercise plan/routine and I sent it to my physiotherapist. I asked it it was okay the way I had re-ordered the exercises, and I also asked if I could start swimming. She said yes to the re order, and no to the swimming. Darn. But I get it. And then she commended me for taking the exercises so seriously. That was good to hear.
My husband brings out the comfort food. He is comforting himself. And he's comforting me. So it's hard to refuse him. And I know why he's in denial, he can't face it anymore. He is done. He really needs this pretend it's over, pretend it's all okay and maybe it will, be mental break. This has been as much as he can take. I understand his different position. I don't have to look at me all the time. I can feel good for an afternoon and be my old self completely inside. He always has to see how I have changed. He always has to see that I have no hair and that I'm puffy and gained twenty pounds since treatment started. He always has to see that, every time he looks at me. I'm inside this body. I don't have to look at it from the outside. On a good day I can feel like the old me for a while. I know from being the caregiver myself that sometimes it can be harder to watch someone else suffer than to be the one who is suffering. You forget your own suffering, your body has a buffer for that kind of forgetting. But the caregiver remembers the empathy suffering. So. Yes. I share his comfort food even when I want to lose this weight, because I know it makes him feel better. I do it every night. For now.
Next to the big unknown of my cancer that is the most depressing thing that's going down in my life right now. Being this heavy again. Again. After I lost all that weight before cancer. Now I have outgrown all my beautiful new sized for weight loss success clothes. That big pile of clothes that I can't wear anymore. And looking at my body, I think eh gads I have lymphedema every where, my legs, and my arms. But it's fat. Just lot's of plain old fat. It's heavy to drag around. I feel it on my mountain walk. I feel it when I do the floor exercises. It's a drag. Literally. It's a drag. Sigh.
My body is stiff from the extra exercise. It feels stiff today. The mountain walk will be good to loosen it up. And then I will have two days off of exercise. That will probably be good for it. Push forward, and also recover. That's the way to progress physically. That's the way to progress for real life, not just for sports or a particular training event but for real life health and strength and mobility.
If I spend a week at Camp Comfort I can always do the floor exercises there. And also take the long walk there too, along the trail and side roads near by.
Yesterday I had a good Skype talk with the kids. They haven't found their cat Leeloo yet. It's been a week. The family is in mourning, but she might still show up. My son thinks the same as me. He remembers when our cat Spooky went missing that first summer, and showed up again in the fall, and how she started to make that a regular pattern of her life. Gone for the whole summer and back again every fall year after year. But of course that is probably not the case. Leeloo has a chip, so if she shows up at shelter or vets then she will be found. If not it means that she's dead or injured someplace and hiding out, either to die or come home when she gets better. Cats, and dogs and probably all wild animals prefer to die alone, away from home. This instinct makes sense. That way they don't contaminate the den/nest with their corpse. I get it. We love them as if they are family. And they are family. But are different beings and they have different instincts.
I am thinking more about perhaps renting a cottage for the weekend of my birthday. Someplace close. Someplace so we can introduce my brother to cottage life and also where my son and grandkids can join us. Maybe if I just put the word out and see what happens. Let people know I'm looking to rent a cottage that weekend. We'll see what we get. I have cancer. It's my birthday. How could they resist?
Dispatched: June 7