There are scares .. and then there are SCARES

After you finish your primary cancer treatment, you often go through scares. You discover something or another, and it brings on the fear that the cancer has come back. I went through many of them over the first couple of years. I remember specifically writing about two of them: It’s just a stitch and Things I need to write.

Now I’m going through another scare – but this one really feels like a SCARE.

I had some abnormal blood tests for a few months, so my family doctor (who is awesome) sent me for a CT (chest and abdomen). It came back, with my liver and abdomen all clear, however, I have some enlarged (suspicious) lymph nodes in my right axilla (arm pit). Often when people are diagnosed with breast cancer, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in their axilla. When this happens, they do radiation therapy. I didn’t have any node involvement. My lymph nodes were all clear, so radiation wasn’t required or recommended.

Today I had a biopsy. It was an ultrasound guided biopsy done by the same radiologist that read my CT scan. She had no trouble finding the lymph node(s) on the ultrasound. She even measured one at 2cm. She used the ultrasound to guide a couple of core biopsies (needle aspirations). She said she didn’t use the smallest needle but also didn’t use the biggest. She was pretty confident she got enough to get lab results.

Now the waiting begins. It can take up to two weeks. She seem to indicate that she would push the lab to try to get the results sooner. This has me even more worried. The Canadian healthcare system generally doesn’t move that fast – except when it needs to. The speed is in part what is making me suspicious that this is something rather than nothing.

My family doc promised that he would phone me immediately when he got the results. I thanked him for that. It is good that he understands that the no knowing is worse than knowing. The in between state is hard.

I’m thinking about a blog post a wrote about thinking I would react one way, but with an actual diagnosis I reacted totally differently. I always remind myself of that when my brain starts spinning into planning mode. Well, if it is a recurrence would it be stage 3 or stage 4? What would the treatment be? What would I choose to do? How will I feel? All these questions and my mind starts to plan, and then I remember – I really will have no idea how I will feel if I get a diagnosis. I don’t know how I will react. I just have no idea so I should try to not worry about it.

I’m reminded of my mantra “in the absence of a diagnosis, I’m healthy”. And so, for today I am healthy. I spent most of my day working onsite at Treehouse, fixing holes in drywall and pre-painting baseboards and other trim. I’ve been keeping myself very busy with painting onsite, and doing other Treehouse organization type stuff.

I’m also thinking about a vacation we have planned. The news may come in before the vacation or it might come in during the vacation. Either way, it will colour the vacation.

But for today, I say to myself yet again “in the absence of a diagnosis, I am healthy” … today I’m healthy.

  • Becky

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