Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Downs and ups and downs and ups

So yeah... late last week wasn't much fun, which is why you haven't heard a lot for me in a week or so.

The steroids from Monday's infusion wore off by Thursday morning, just in time for me to feel crummy for my two-month post-op check-in with my surgeon. Good news is that the incisions are healing the way they're supposed to. I'm now scheduled for a follow up mammogram in May (how time flies). She's also got me coming in in January for a repeat ultrasound on my non-operated-on breast. They'd found a cyst there back in June when I went in for an MRI on the cancerous lump, and while a biopsy came back clean, we need to do a follow up. Okey dokey. Always something fun to think about. I'm not especially concerned about it, especially considering I'm already getting dosed.

By the time I got home Thursday, I was weary and cranky and not very eager to eat or drink, which, of course, isn't good. Basically kept myself going on the minimum and sleeping till my SO came over for the weekend Friday night. Which was just what I needed. He gave me enough space to recover but also offered the incentive to increase the caloric intake, toss on the headscarf, head out to the park and enjoy the nice weather. By yesterday (Labor Day), I was perky enough to get out and do some exploring. Yay!

Did have one somewhat tough experience: heading to our local bar/restaurant. We're usually there a couple times a month for dinner and/or drinks at the bar, to the point where we've gotten cordial with some of the staff and managers. Nobody there knew anything about my surgery or chemo -- how do you fit that into the conversation? "I'll have a bottle of the Rubaeus and by the way, I just got a tumor yanked out of my boob." No. But I also didn't want to avoid the place for the next six months until my hair grows back. So... when my SO suggested going there, I said okay. Have to make the plunge sometime.

After we'd eaten our dinner, the friendliest of the bartenders sidled up and asked me directly, "Are you doing chemo?" Now that's a question, right? I appreciate the directness, and it didn't bother me, but seriously? What if the answer is no? You've basically just told someone she looks really, really sick. Or like a ridiculous parody of Stevie Van Zandt.

I'm not doing chemo.
I just like wearing a do rag on my head in 90 degree heat.

So what else am I going to say but yeah, I'm doing chemo. And follow up with the elevator speech version of the story - "they pulled out the tumor, clean margins, no sign it traveled anywhere else, this is all a big precaution, I'm not worried so you shouldn't be, either." All while she's giving me those big sad concerned deer mama eyes.

Everything ended up okay, but it gave me yet another reason to think that not talking about this so much is a good thing. People understandably jump to bad places in their mind when they hear chemo (and cancer, for that matter), and the reaction got me wondering if I'm not taking the situation seriously enough. Should I be worrying more? Should I be preparing myself for bad things? I don't like living that way, and I know it's my decision how to manage myself, but I can't help wondering from time to time. Guess I just have to find a way to re-balance my viewpoint after it gets a little shake like that.

Incidentally, today's check-in with the oncologist went well. Numbers were at the expected levels (same as after week one of the last cycle) but the doc said she was pleasantly surprised at how I was doing. Good stuff.

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