I saw my family doctor today. I'd wanted to give my doctor the long-term disability forms, and I also wanted copies of all the recent test results (including the CT scan). It took a while, but they finally got the CT results faxed over. I wasn't wrong in my interpretation of the technician's statement, I'm afraid - there is a "this" there, all right.
There is a 1cm x 0.6cm lesion on the right side of the sternum, and a second area on the left side of the sternum at the same level. Given everything, these are strongly suspicious for metastatic disease. Put another way, I almost certainly have cancer in my sternum. It's most likely that the cancer is breast cancer that has spread (aka "bone mets"). There is another possibility, though, and that is that the cancer is actually bone cancer that is a result of the radiation that I had before. Very rarely, radiation can cause new cancers, and at least one of these lesions is in the previous radiation field.
My family doctor wants a biopsy done so that we can determine whether it's breast or bone cancer. I agree with him, of course. We don't want to guess wrong, here - we have to know what kind of cancer this is. I see an oncologist on Wednesday, and hopefully he will also agree that a biopsy is needed. If not, then I'm sure that my family doctor (who I see Thursday) will arrange something :)
My doctor is also taking the pain in my sternum seriously. The aspirin helps a bit - I don't get the big spikes of pain anymore, but I still get a continual ache. So we're going to try Arthrotec. If that doesn't work, then we'll try something else. I've asked him to stay away from narcotic painkillers (I hate taking them), and he says that there's lots and lots to try before we have to revert to a narcotic.
With everything going on, I'm really tired. It will take time for me to process all of this, even though a lot of it is confirming what I already knew. It's more real and more scary to me now.
I felt that you kinda knew, didn't you? I want to hug it out of you, or yank it out with force of will, somehow. I want to hold an umbrella above your head to stop the awfulness from reaching you. I know that you are taking good care of yourself and that Ian supports you utterly, so you are in good hands. Don't lose hope. Kill this thing.
Your Baba had a favorite poem that she would recite over and over to herself whenever her own body betrayed her:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as a Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
I hope you can include it in your arsenal to help you keep courageously fighting on.
Love you always, Mom
I was late in reading your blog. Somehow I wish I hadn't read it - ignorance is indeed bliss. I am really pleased to hear that you and Ian are continuing with your array of activities. It sounds like you have a lot of fun together.
Hang in there Chantelle
Love Aunt Dawn
I don't even know where the words are to express how I feel :( I love you deeply, you have a special place in my soul, and I find myself asking the universe to give you the strength you need to fight this off, now and forever.
I wish I could give you some of my strength,
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