Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Not Sick. Sort of.

Cancer is weird.

In so many ways, I am no different from that person I was four weeks ago when I stood in the shower and felt a lump where there shouldn't be one. Yet so much is different.

Medically speaking, I have a disease.

Disease = Sick

I don't feel sick. I feel perfectly fine. Well, not perfectly fine, I mean, let's be honest- the 30+ extra pounds I've been carrying around since hatching the kidlets isn't exactly making me feel like I can conquer the world but it only is a slight damper on things- I still feel pretty darn good. Certainly not sick. Just like maybe I-should-cut-out-the-late-night-snacking-and-climb-on-my-elliptical-every-now-and-then-for-goodness-sakes fine.

If I had say... bronchitis, could I get up tomorrow and go for a run around Greenlake? Probably not. I have cancer. Could I get up and go for a run around Greenlake tomorrow? Most likely, aforementioned 30 pounds and hatred of running not withstanding.

Cancer is odd in that (in many cases) the disease itself doesn't make you feel debilitated (at least at first, obviously late stage cancers are a whole 'nother kettle of fish). Instead it is the treatment that can make you an "invalid". For just a second, in your mind, imagine a cancer patient.

Got the picture?

Is your patient bald?

I know in my mind she is. Isn't that odd? Cancer doesn't make you bald. Chemotherapy makes you bald. Not everyone who gets cancer has chemo and yet that bald head remains as an icon of cancer.

Where am I going with all this? I don't know... just stuff that's been running around in my head this week. I had 25 minutes to kill yesterday while I was in the MRI machine- the mind wanders.

Ahhhhhhhh... she mentions the MRI. That is why you are all reading this- to see how the MRI went, right?

Well, all of you except for the few poor souls who might actually expect there to be knitting on a knitting blog. For you, hang tight, I'll have something for you in the next post assuming no medical bombshells between now and then. For my sake, I hope there is knitting in the next post. I've had just about all the medical bombshells I can handle for now, thank you very much.

So back to the MRI. My MRI and ultrasound did get moved up a day early- many thanks to all of you who sent cancellation vibes out this way, it worked.

The actual procedures are really very unexciting (MRI- cramped, LOUD, did not like the IV contrast as it felt really cold and icky going through my veins; ultrasound- gooey gel combined with fuzzy pictures you can't understand without silly amounts of school) so I'll spare you the gory details.

The interesting part is the results. And, at least at first glance, the results look good. The ultrasound did not turn up any oddities in my lymph nodes and the initial scan of the MRI images showed no new areas of concern. I still need to get a final read of the MRI but for now I am cautiously optimistic.

I won't lie. I was incredibly nervous going in yesterday. I'm not sure if I've ever been that nervous before... maybe when I auditioned for NC School of the Arts but I'm not sure. Yesterday was the first time in this process where the news was not worse than I expected, and that was a Very Good Thing. I'd like to say I'm excited but since I don't have the final-final read, I'll just go with cautiously optimistic for now.

And so, now I can move on to treatment. To chemo.

I can be that bald person.

Even though the prospect losing my hair Freaks Me Out...

(like a really, crazy all out of proportion freak out: please oh please God- I love my ponytail! you can have my boobs but leave me my hair)

Get a grip, Katie!! It WILL grow back. So I can be that bald person. I can even be sick. Because sick and bald mean I'm making progress and progress is what it is all about.


Daphne said...

Oh, how good "cautiously optimistic" sounds! And oh, how strange and squeamish all these tests that are rote to the cancer center, but individual and terrifying.


Duchess said...

It is wonderful to hear some good news, even if it is tempered.

I can't say the thought of loosing my hair wouldn't freak me out as well, but then I know you would do far more to make sure your babies have a mama.

*hugs* and *support*

I am praying for you.

Jenny said...

Just an offhand thought - might it be easier on you if you cut it a bit shorter now, and then super short a month or so later so when it does go that it won't be as big a shock? Still, not a happy prospect, but sometimes doing those thing in stages helps me. :/

michelle z said...

so the moral of the story is feel yourself up in the shower more often? seriously, glad there is a positive update

mames said...

glad the mri was done and brought better news than anticipated.

your post made me think a lot...and you are so very right about the picture we have in our minds when the word 'cancer' comes up. so, from now on when I think about you and send prayers, it will be to the woman running around the track, strong and fighting. hugs. a

Anonymous said...

All my very best wishes that it is good news when the results come in. Positive vibes coming your way.

huskypaw said...

This is what I get for not being in the Monday night knitting group for ages...Your honest portrayal of your feelings was very accurate and I thank you for sharing. I would like you to consider signing up for something...It will really help. I was a chemoangel before having kids and I supported those that are going through what you are going through. Even if you feel you do not need it, please just take a moment to fill out the form -