Saturday, September 8, 2007

Climbing the Ladder up to the Highwire

I feel like I'm ascending up that tiny ladder they have going up to the highwire. You know the one that is nearly invisible to all in the audience; the one that doesn't look like it could even support a small bird let alone a human.

First, let me, from the deepest part of my heart, thank every single one of you who have sent emails, left messages, called, prayed, sent out positive vibes and the like. Know that mom and I feel every single good vibe coming this way and it sustains us and gives us the strength to put one foot in front of the other. The days are running together but I will tell you what we've learned at this point.

We received the results of my mothers tests. Her chest, abdomen, and pelvic CT showed all clear: no vital organ involvement was visible. Her bone scan showed a few spots on her thoracic spine. The fluid they drew off her lung showed some malignant cells. We saw the breast surgeon yesterday and she was scheduled for a breast biopsy, but one look and the surgeon said there was no need. She said it is clearly breast cancer and said she didn't think she should put mom through a procedure that was not warranted. She did say that the malignant cells in the fluid tested as estrogen receptors which means the breast cancer is the primary cancer. This also indicated to her that putting mom on tamoxifen (an estrogen inhibitor) would help decrease the size of the tumors and perhaps slow or stop the pleural effusions. We see the oncologist in a week and will see what he recommends. As for now, she is comfortable much of the time. Still she has no pain, but does experience some discomfort in breathing from time to time. We're learning to anticipate those episodes and adjust her oxygen level accordingly. It helps from time to time.

As for me, I am still waiting for the MRI results. It hasn't been bothersome to me because I've been so preoccupied; as long as I get them before my appointment with the plastic surgeon which is Thursday. I am interested in what they have to say now though. I've gone from being just another woman with breast cancer, to one with a strong family history. I learned only this week from my mother that her paternal grandmother had breast cancer also. I need to heavily weigh this information before deciding what course of treatment to take.

So on we go. Climbing that tiny ladder, stepping out onto the platform that a large basket of fruit would have a hard time balancing on, looking down and seeing no net.

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