Getting intimate with rock bottom

I had my post op appointment yesterday, which I was rather optimistic about. I’m finding that that’s my biggest mistake, and my biggest weapon in all of this, and apparently I haven’t gotten the timing quite right.

On the bright side, my incisions look great, and my mobility is coming back nicely. On the not bright side, they officially staged my cancer as Stage 3 Grade 3, as opposed to their original Stage 2 Grade 2-3. The lump in my breast measured smaller than what they originally thought… But this kills me, it went from looking like less than 2 cm in the ultrasound, then inconclusive in the MRI because my tissue is dense, but they thought it was around 5-6 cm based on that particular test, then at my last appointment, my doctor noticed that they both (lymph node and breast) felt smaller from the last exam 3 weeks prior, and when it was all out of it me, it measured 3 cm. They changed the staging because of the number of lymph nodes involved. Post surgery, my doctor said he removed a couple of lymph nodes, but he didn’t know an exact number because they are small, and they’re also encased in fat, which makes it difficult to discern how many are actually there. Every person has a different number of lymph nodes in their body. It ended up that he actually removed 13 on my right side (in the underarm area) and of those 13, 8 tested positive with cancer, 5 were negative. In surgery, they insert a radioactive dye that follows the path of the cancer, so I suppose it’s good that 5 of them tested negative for cancer.

Now that I’ve had to get rid of my fucking breasts, there’s still a concern that this isn’t over. They do believe that they got it all in surgery, but they’re also unable to test for micrometastases that could be in other lymph nodes that their technology cannot see or test for. So they’d like me to do chemotherapy “just to be sure”. I’m not okay with this.

I’m not okay with flooding my body with poison and destroying my already weakened immune system. I’m not okay with the side effects of chemotherapy, like chemo brain, or decreased sex drive and energy levels, neutropenia and the illnesses that can result, having a fucking port sewn into my clavicle. No, thank you. I’m hormone receptor positive. I will  explore this avenue. 

*I took the liberty of removing my earlier rant because I think it was a bit offensive and not my intention. Everyone’s treatment decisions are their own, and I don’t think my last version of this post was written with that in mind*

I realize that my beliefs might be radical and possibly offensive to some. Obviously that isn’t my intention, but I’m speaking from a place of what I believe in FOR ME. I understand chemotherapy in cases where there is actually cancer to treat. But my cancer has all been removed. The doctors believe this. So to go through the hell of it “just in case” is not something I’m willing to do. There are too many unknowns for me in my current situation to just jump on board with a smile on my face. 

We are all creating cancer in our cells all the time. The difference between a person who has cancer and a person who does not is in the immune system. The immune system in a normal person is able to shut down haywire cell growth before any problems arise. The immune system in someone like me was not able to suppress the angiogenesis (the process through which new blood vessels are formed from pre existing blood vessels-crucial for reproduction of these mutated cells). So it doesn’t seem right to poison this same immune system that was already damaged to begin with just to knock it on its ass further… while *hopefully* wiping out the pesky rogue cells that may or may not be present.

It makes far more sense to me to focus on strengthening the immune system through extremely focused nutrition (RAW and juiced vegetables, very minimal fruit as sugar feeds cancer, no animal products) and proper supplementation (I’m on about 50 supplements per day split up at breakfast lunch and dinner, as prescribed by my integrative MD-yes, she is a Western Medicine Doctor), as well as healthy stress management (this involves emotional healing too, to a large degree, and I’m finding that I have a lot of that to do…). Basically self care as the number 1 priority (which, I believe it should have always been for me, cancer or no cancer.. but my poor self value and self worth made this challenging… and I believe there is a strong mind-body connection which I will write about at some point…)

I was given a statistic yesterday that there’s a 30% increase in survival at the 10 year mark when chemotherapy is combined with hormone therapy, as opposed to hormone therapy alone. I’m not a statistics person. Nor does that number seem substantial enough for me to just jump on board with something that has felt like a violation to my whole self from the very beginning of this fucking god awful nightmare. (Obviously I’m fucking angry right now and unapologetically so)

I realize that everyone is different. I know that my treatment will not work if I’m not behind it. That “positive attitude” that everyone is so adamant on preaching to me WILL NOT be there if I do something that I am not at peace with.

Right now, I need support. My mom and I both do. We do not need to be told what to do or how to proceed in terms of treatment OR in day to day life-Comments beginning with “You need to…” are comments we have no time or space for. We do not need interrogation or criticism or judgment. We are still gathering all of our information before we make any decisions.

I will define support as being present with us. Regardless of whether you agree with our approach or beliefs at this time or not. Regardless of how uncomfortable and scared this makes YOU (you better fucking believe we’re scared too). Regardless of how much you are inclined to “fix things”. Just be here. And if you can’t, then don’t.

 

13 thoughts on “Getting intimate with rock bottom

  1. I am here and support you both from the bottom of my heart. Let me know how you feel about a visit tonight.
    So important that this decision has been made. You need nothing short of positive loving supportive non judgement and it’s not about me energy. I’m proud to see you guys unite with this empowering choice. I love you

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  2. Dear Amy We LOVE and SUPPORT you and your Mom 100% We are on your team. Wish we were there to give you a big hug. All our best Love Sandy & Karl

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  3. Hope is what will pull you up from the depths, and it’s not a mistake as long as you keep your eyes wide open, your heart and mind ready for anything. Treatment decisions are devilishly complicated and very,very personal. I can’t fix this and I won’t presume to try. But I’m still here.

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  4. I’m raging right next to you…. as this was not what I was hoping to hear. As Pat says, we can’t fix this… but we can sure support you through all the tough decisions. At the end of the day, you have to do what you feel is best for you… and you will be embraced and supported through whatever you decide. Holding you in light…
    “I have woven a parachute out of everything broken; my scars are my shield.” ~William Stafford
    xoxo
    Holly

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  5. Amy — you’ve been near to my heart for a long while now, and especially in the past several weeks.

    I’m surrounded by people in various stages of cancer treatment for ten hours a day, nearly every day. I see people thrive through, and in spite of chemotherapy, unfortunately far less often than those that are debilitated in profound, and often permanent ways. The reservations you have (written) about it are entirely valid.

    I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be confronted so brazenly by a cancer diagnosis. What I do know, is that confronting it head-on, with the full support of those that love you, is the only real, viable option; for what it’s worth, I’m thinking of you often, and tenderly. I (and so many others) love you very much, Amy.

    Chris

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  6. You are being so brave as an advocate for yourself. Even if you later decide to give chemo a run, it will be because it feels right to you. Absolutely do what you can for you, with your body, when you want to. (Have you researched Cannabis oil?) Also if you ever want someone to come meditate with you or set you up in a restorative yoga pose, let me know. It’s so important to keep some of who you are and what you love intact during all of this shit storm. Thank you for allowing me and all of your blog readers to be right there with you. Sending a hug today.

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    1. Kat that would absolutely be incredible. I’ve really been dying to do yoga! ANYTHING that will make me feel somewhat more normal. This post surgery stuff is frustrating because I’m not able to move in the way I used to.. Totally makes me realize how much I took my mobility for granted. I would love for you to come meditate with me. πŸ’™let me know when, aside from doctor appointments, I don’t have too terribly much goin on these days….

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  7. You have to do what feels right for you, as long as you have sound advice and are thinking as clearly as possible after a cancer diagnosis then nobody can insist you do anything you don’t want too. I’ve been though a couple of rounds of chemo, radio and surgeries.. am on hormone meds and bone meds.. I also do yoga, meditate and use cannabis oil.. my method has been to chuck everything possible at it, thats just my coping strategy, each to their own… I’ll support anyone going through this crap without judgement.

    Positive vibes coming your way xxxxxx

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    1. Thanks so much. It’s overwhelming to say the least, as I’m sure you understand. Sending you positive vibes as well. I meet with my oncologist Wednesday to discuss the results of my surgery so I suppose I’ll have more information then. This isn’t just an issue of logic or rationale for me.
      This is requiring me to access parts of myself that I’ve never known existed. It’s a whole-self decision making process… And it’s scary as hell.
      So sorry you’re going through this too. Sending you my absolutely best. πŸ’•

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