As I stated earlier, Dr. Ruark always gives me my test results as soon as she receives them. I love her compassion. She calls me on Thursday night. I had a tumor that was 12 cm. I had 4 lymph nodes that had cancer. Okay waiting for good news here - and I receive it. All my margins were clear and I'm estrogen positive which means I can take medication which will stave off future cancer. Okay I can deal with this. I have to remember the cancer is gone. I will need chemo and radiation. Once again, something I didn't want to hear but I need to look at those things as extra insurance to keep the cancer at bay.
We go the next morning to see Dr. Ruark. I'm thrilled to get out of the house. I'm riding in a car away from my lazy boy. You wouldn't think that something so simple as riding in a car would thrill me so much, but after sitting in a lazy boy for a week 24/7 it's a treat!
As I'm waiting to see Dr. Ruark, Bob and I are talking about my visit with my friend Bev. She came to visit me the night before. She's been my friend since my single Galligan's days. Let's just say what went on at Galligan's stays at Galligan's. She is one of my oldest and best buds. She has stage 2 lobular invasive breast cancer two years ago. She also had a masectomy. She didn't have to have chemo or radiation. She did have reconstructive surgery. She got us to laugh when discussing the surgery. At the time of her surgery, her deductible had to be met in order for her to have a nipple put on. Her answer - "Why would I spend $1,200 for a raisin?" Gotta love Bev!
As we're waiting an older woman comes in with her two daughters. We strike up a conversation. It's her second time also. This time it's gone to her other breast. We talk about our previous experience and how great Dr. Ruark is. It's a club you know. A club you don't want to be a part of but one where you are welcomed with open arms and understanding. Club members get you, they understand, they've been in the trenches. No one knows until they go through this what it's like. There's peace in that.
We go in to see Dr. Ruark. She looks at me and is really happy at what she sees. She thought my skin would have been purple due to the previous radiation I had received. She's pleasantly surprised. She tells us the same information as she did last night. I ask her what stage I'm in. Before surgery, she thought I'd be in stage 2. I'm not. Since they found cancer in a small fourth lymph, it has put my barely into Stage 3. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I know we look at cancer in 4 stages but I also know that there are different levels of stages. Last time I was 0/1a. I can't let myself get hung up on a number. My mantra comes into play - this is life changing, not life taking. CHANGING, NOT TAKING.
She removes one tube. There is no pain. Easy, breezy! I still have one tube in but it feels GREAT to have one removed. While examining me, she sees I have a rash. This past week, I've been thinking that I have a heat rash. That would be no. I'm allergic to the antibiotic. New script is ordered. Thank God! No more itching. Note to self - call doctor next time and quit suffering silently.
Dr. Ruark asks about my kids. I show her Anthony's Facebook post and Nick's picture with all the guys holding up the #savingteets sign. She starts to cry. She is so touched by them. She has one daughter and three sons of her own so she gets it. She says - Don't show me anything else, I've got to see another patient and I can't go in crying!
Bob is in the room and is asking questions about the next steps. She has no answers and I can see him getting frustrated. We need to realize that treatment of cancer is compartimentalized. The surgeon does her job, the oncologist does their job and the radiologist does his job. They all talk amongst themselves but each is responsible for their own "piece of the pie".
Once again we learn to be patient. We have to wait for the next step. Dr. Ruark's office is making my appointment with Dr. Hanna. I will get it when I go on Tuesday to get the last drain removed.
One day at a time, stay in the NOW.
As we're waiting for the elevator, I hug my husband and say "This is a day of gratitude! I got out of the house, I took a ride in our car, the cancer is out of me, I have clear margins and I got one tube removed! This is a good day!"