Friday, May 16, 2008

Ugh..I have so much to do in the next few days. So, I thought I would get a jump start on my procrastination of chores by wasting my time blogging. Why do now what I can put off, and freak out about, until later? Isn't this the whole purpose of blogging; to make us forget about the real stuff we have to do?

Today was my last day at work. The program I work for actually continues for two more weeks, but with my surgery on Monday, it will have to go on without me.

It's somewhat sad to be done. I really enjoyed my job. It was interesting, active, and fit perfectly with my personality. I was able to interact with people while still being on my own for the most part. It also fit into our family's life and schedule like a glove.

Because the program follows the school schedule, it will stop during the summer and resume in the fall. I will be in the middle of chemo then, but I had hoped to maybe come back afterward. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen. My doctors and I had been I had been debating about having an axillary dissection done as part of the mastectomy on Monday. It's a normal part of a modified radical mastectomy that removes an entire set of lymph nodes from the armpit/breast area. The nodes are sent to pathology to look for cancer and help determine treatment options. In my previous surgery, the surgeon took the first 2 nodes--that's a sentinel node biopsy. When later tests came back showing isolated tumor cells, my surgeon immediately wanted to take the rest of my nodes.

I've been throwing a hissy fit because I have not wanted that to happen. When all the nodes are removed, it impairs the arm's ability to fight infection and drain the arm and chest area properly. It can cause lymphedema, a swelling of the arm that is incurable once it develops. It might remain minor, or it can swell the arm to twice its normal size.

uh...yeah....I don't want that.

The chances that those tiny tumor cells will translate into more cancer in my nodes is very small; something like 5%. The chances that a breast cancer patient will develop lymphedema after an axillary dissection can be as high as 40%. I've been willing to take the 5% chance, but my doctors keep pushing me away from that....which I have found annoying.

Ultimately, if I were single, and more importantly, did not have children, I would have insisted that I wasn't going to let them do the dissection. Except, I'm not either of those things. I have people who depend on me, children I want to see grow up. So, I have decided to let them rip the nodes out of my arm, knowing it will probably be fruitless, simply because I won't gamble with the life of my children's mother....even if the odds are 95% in my favor.

What all that means is that I won't be able to do the job that I currently do. My right arm will have to be protected. I won't be able to have injections in it, have my blood pressure taken on it, or do repetitive, weight-bearing motions with it--basically what I do all day right now.

It stinks.

It's sad to say good-bye to a job I liked just because my body wants to have a little tantrum right now. I keep having to do things I don't want to do, and make choices I don't want to make...all thanks to stupid cancer cells that have nothing better to do than try and invade my body.

But, what can you do? Life happens and you deal with it. Wishing things away doesn't erase them from reality...though I wish it did. No. Things are the way they are, and you can only move forward, working through the obstacles in your path.

God is here with me, and my family. I won't attribute cancer to God's wil. I will acknowledge that it doesn't matter. He's God whether I am perfectly healthy, or bed-ridden. He's God whether I feel Him or not. He's God no matter what my circumstances seem like today, and I will rest in that.

I will rest in the knowledge that I don't have to know everything or be perfect, or make sure I've turned around three times and prayed out loud for healing, or begged and pleaded in great waves of emotion, or bargained my way to the outcome I want.

To quote some ancient guy who had some jerks for friends, "Though he slay me, yet will I praise him."

Except....I don't really think God is slaying me. It's more like there is some slaying going on, and He just happens to be near the general slaying area. I'm sure He'll be more of a comfort than Job's buddies.


jackscrow said...

You don't know me, but I and my family are praying for you.

terri said...

Thank you. I will take all the prayers I can get! :-)