Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brave? Let's do coffee!

So much for the strength and bravery that my good friends are lauding me for. Today, I guess it's all finally hit me...I'm freaking out! To the point I'm considering canceling the surgery! Dumb, I know!!

Yesterday, I visited with the Radiation Oncologist, at her request. Turns out she had read her notes wrong, and didn't really need to see me until after surgery and the pathology reports are in. As long as I was there, we chatted about the upcoming adventure. I detailed what Dr. K had said she'd be doing, including removing all the lymph nodes. (which continues to be one of my biggest concerns!!)

She said, "oh, no, Dr. Kommareddi won't be removing 'all' the nodes - your arm would look like an elephant's leg if she did that!" Exactly my concern! "But that's what she told me when I questioned her about it - on a couple different occasions." "No, don't worry about that."

I slept well last night. Not.

She did explain one thing for me though - re chemo and/or radiation treatments - that I didn't fully understand. Chemo, delivered to the body first, is to search out and destroy cancer cells that may have wandered throughout the body. Radiation follows that up in the specific area of the cancer, as a 'local' treatment. OK, that makes sense. I'm still not decided on whether to do either treatment, but I know everyone will fight me on that one if I do decline.

My Silver Fox is most concerned about the fact that they want to send me home the same day as the surgery, and has provided me all sorts of info on the whys and wherefores of not going home immediately after the recovery room. Truly, that isn't a problem for me - I know my constitution, how I handle anesthetic, my strength and will. I trust that any complications - heart problems, lung issues, bleeding, unusual drainage, like that - will keep me in the hospital. But I surely do worry about the damned lymph system. I don't think I'd like having an elephant's leg as an upper appendage!

Received a lovely little piece from one of my incredible support team - this is probably a good time to add it in here! I need to remember this one!!

Carrots, Eggs, & Coffee!

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

May we all be COFFEE!!!!!!!

I actually considered changing coffee to tea, since I don't drink coffee, but since more people relate to coffee, I left it the way I received it!!

And, timing being everything, Dr. K just returned the call I placed to her exchange, to talk again about the bloody lymph nodes. She went into a little more detail this time. I had discovered in my frantic research online into lymph node removal today that there are "three levels of axillary dissection", I, II and III. And that there is a "fat pad" in the armpit area where lots of lymph nodes hide. It is this "fat pad" that Dr. K will be removing, and until it's looked at by the path lab, there is no way of even knowing how many of the little suckers are hiding in there...could be 10, could be more, any of which beyond the two we know of could have cancer cells. But whatever the number, it isn't the "all" that I envisioned. She doesn't go further into the arm looking for them, or into the muscles - it's just the fat pad itself.

BTW, that entire site, provides lots and lots of excellent info, you just have to wander around thru lots of links to find it all!

OK, I think I can live with that. After I chew on it a little more. But my blood pressure has dropped a little, just from that conversation.

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