Archive for March, 2008

Death takes a holiday

Monday, March 31st, 2008

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Well I am awful sorry I made you all wait so long for the report. I am free of brain mets. That is a big whew! right? After a lot of very good discussion my oncologist and I came to a treatment outline we can both ( hopefully) live with. First, I found out there are two good size lesions on my liver of 1.2 cm. and 2+cm. plus several others that are under a cm. That’s not good. After discussing radiation and brachytherapy, Dr. Demichelle carefully explained that radiation will kill what is in the liver but not what is floating all rebel bat out of hell style through my bloodstream. For this reason chemotherapy is still the best option. Also surgery to remove the cancer in my lymph nodes in my neck would be painful and a tricky surgery. Radiation to that area would severely impact my quality of life.

So we were back to chemotherapy options. I pointed out that in recent months I finally began to feel good. I am interested in a bit of quality time with the kids. Before Alec goes away to school at the end of the summer. I just wanted to feel like I have some time to complete things and be with the kids. Dr. Demichelle thought it would be best to wait and do a medicine called Xeloda now. It is an oral medicine that I take for 2 weeks and then I am off for a week.It has milder side effects than the other medicines she wanted to try. However, there are still side effects. My nails will likely rip and tear again. My hands and feet may turn red and become sore. And the dreaded “D” will be a constant as it was with my other chemo.

She feels like this chemo has a good chance of stopping my cancer.If it doesn’t work we will move onto adryamicin. For now, I am hoping this new medicine will work. I plan on using this time to prepare to be sick though too, in case it doesn’t. I want to take the kids and Kelly on a family vacation. I have NEVER gone on vacation with my family. We have never gone anywhere as a family. Mostly because it is very costly. I have checked out three websites that provide assistance in wish fulfillment for terminally ill patients. Some of them may work, but they are all time suckers. I think we may end up down the shore for a week but that suits me just fine. I plan on taking them out of school for 3 days at the end of April. My doctor even agreed that we do not really know how much time I have and that I should do it now while I can.

I am deeply relieved to not have brain mets. I am relieved to be holding off on the red devil if only for 6 weeks. I pray to God that the new medicine will work. I pray that my cancer takes a holiday too. My cancer and death can go on a long holiday together and leave me alone for a while. My doctor said I know its hard to live your life in 6 week intervals but that is what we have to do. So now every 6 weeks I will be scanned until I am stable. I hope you like drama because there is plenty to come. Nail biting for all. Thank you all for sharing this journey with me. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for reading.

Rock Solid

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

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I spent most of the day Saturday in the grips of a panic attack/depression. I could not seem to get off the couch. Not my usual face this head on self. I was just trying to breath without crying. When 9 pm rolled around I was forcing myself out the door. Anxious and tired I headed into the North Star bar. The benefit for my children was organized by some very old friends Joey Throttle and Keith Souder. As I entered the room, I immediately saw a few familiar faces. Seeing several good friends  put me more at ease. It felt very nice to be surrounded by such lovely long time friends. Some I have seen a lot of. Others who I had not seen in a long time. Joey Throttle called it a family reunion, which I think was very accurate. My friend Tom said he had no other family other than his mom. That is my story too. My friends really are my family.

The show itself was quite good. All the bands sounded amazing. I was surprised at how awesome the bands were. The music did not seem dated at all. Throttle, Trained Attack Dogs, and Deadspot rocked. The sweetest thing was just watching all these old guys jump around and sweat. For me. Several people said, “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else Andrea.” The singer from Deadspot flew in from California for the show. That is so touching. I think Kelly wanted to review the show from a punk rock standpoint. I just wanted to talk about how I felt being there. Truth is I felt ALIVE. Not sick.Not dying. Not in pain. Not depressed. Just alive and happy. I danced. I rocked out. I drank diet coke and hugged my friends. I was overjoyed at the opportunity to just be normal for a minute.

I wore my “I’m not dead yet” t-shirt. Naomi cut the back out of it. Very sexy to rock the back cleavage. For flat chested girls only! Many people asked how I was. I smiled and said great. I did not want to get into the ‘hey my cancer is spreading all over the place” thing. I let them tell me how good I looked and suppressed my inner response( which is something like,” yeah I look great for someone who is dying.”) I just allowed myself to have a good time. I felt loved. And that is a very nice thing. Whether or not I see these people everyday when I am with them I know they care about me.

The feeling of anxiety, stress, and doom returned this morning. I had the MRI of my brain last week and because my doctor was on vacation I was not able to get the results until Monday. I have spent every day fearing that I have brain mets. It is all I have been thinking about. I am telling you this so you will understand why this week has been so difficult. I have researched some options for the lymph node and liver cancer. I think it may be in my best interest to do some short time radiation to both. There is a radiation therapy known as brachytherapy which is very effective. These are my thoughts. My ideas. I do not know if my oncologist will agree. She may want me to start the new chemo. I am thinking that I do not have 8 weeks to see if a new drug will work. And all this is just speculation because if I have brain mets, it is all up in the air.

I do not have any idea what tomorrow holds. None of us really does. We like to think we have a rock solid idea about our present, our future. But this is just not so. As my life is an example of how quickly our lives change. I have envisioned my doctor relaying both positive and negative information to me at our meeting tomorrow. I imagine what that might look like. I am prepared for either. Or at least as much as I can be. I pray for peace.I wish my future did not hang in the balance so often. I wish there was more stability. A solid place to stand in cancer land is quite hard to find. There is a lot of turmoil. Earth shaking stuff. You just never really know how stable things are until somebody tells you your tests came back okay. And mine have never been okay. Like I said before I have never gotten good news after a scan. I expect to hear that I have brain mets tomorrow. But I pray that is not so. I know you are all here for me. I know you are praying too. My friends I thank you for being rocks in my land of cancer.

Thank you all so much for your support.

Punk Rock Mom

Friday, March 28th, 2008

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Many of you do not know much about my life before cancer. Of course many of you do. Most of you know why Jon named the blog punk rock mommy. I thought maybe I could give you a little history lesson though just for fun. It seemed more interesting than boo hooing through another 4 paragraphs of I have cancer.I grew up in Florida. At the age of 12, I discovered punk rock and new wave music. I fell in love with the Ramones, the Clash, and Blondie. Soon I discovered Iggy Pop and X. My love affair with music never really left. My ipod is filled with thousands of songs that transport me to a different time or moment in my life.

When I moved to Philadelphia I already had multiple hair colors and my ears were pierced a dozen times. Soon after I pierced my nose myself (in the shower!) I was a punk enthusiast. I went to all ages shows in my mom’s neighborhood. I saw the Pagan Babies and just about anything remotely cool. I danced in the pit. I guess just after I turned 18, I met the father of my first 5 kids. My ex husband. He was a musician. He rode a skateboard. And he knew every other band in the city. He took me to shows. We saw Scab Cadillac, the Serial Killers, More Fiends, Deadspot, Throttle, the She Males. Every other night he was sneaking me into see all these great Philly bands. Of course I also got to see Nirvana play Dobbs in 1989. Soundgarden and Pearl Jam too. Mudhoney played a basement show in West Philly. I listened to them play while I sat on a Maytag dryer.

This was my pre-mom life. But truth be told I went to shows even after I had kids. Sometimes they were outdoor shows at Clark Park. Sometimes we got a babysitter. I stayed friends with all my childless punk rock cohorts. It never occurred to me to exclusively seek out other mommies for companionship. I had mommy friends, but sometimes I felt just a bit on the weird side for them. What with the tattoos and piercings. I taught my kids all about music. I listened to everything with them. Johnny Cash, Nina Simone, and the Stooges. My kids too have a pretty diverse and eclectic taste in music. They went to Rock School and played their own shows for years. They played at CBGB’s in NYC. And just to make all my dreams come true in 2003 all 4 of my sons sang “I wanna be sedated” at CBGB’s with Marky Ramone on drums.

I worked at Tattooed Mom’s and Rock School and Zipperhead. My hair color ,tattoos and piercings never prevented me from getting a job. I met lots of interesting people and had a very good time. When I met my husband Kelly I found the perfect soul mate for my 34 year old inner punk adolescent. And Clay Smith our son is a lovely addition to my house full of little rockers. With his perfect sense of timing I think he is destined to be a drummer. I can dream right? Being outside the norm has never been a hindrance to me. I feel lucky to be part of such an amazing sub-culture group.

A few months ago my friend Keith called. He played in a band called Trained Attack Dogs in the 80’s. He told me he wanted to do a benefit for me and the kids. He had the lofty idea to get all those now defunct punk bands back together to do a show for me. I was giddy. How cool I thought? Well over the last 4 months Keith has put together quite a show. T.A.D,Throttle, and Deadspot,  are all playing at the North Star Bar this Saturday night. It is really a punk rock family reunion. People have come in from as far as away as Florida and California. I feel so fortunate. I feel blessed to be apart of such a wonderful community.

In truth this event may not be everyones cup of tea. But for those of you who are interested please come. I will be there for sure. In fact I am pretty excited. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of good friends. And not talking at all about my stupid cancer. Or the future. I think what drew me to this kind of music was the power behind it. The loud in your face side. I liked the political part. I liked the anti – establishment stuff. I would like to think I outgrew all the angry stuff. Maybe I did. I think what stuck is the need to be an individual and not be influenced by everyone else. I like to think that even with my disease I have forged my own path. I questioned everything and looked for the best situation for me. I think that is pretty punk rock.

“Joe Annaruma is a softie. Only because Philly’s hardcore father’s Big Fat Ugly brand puts on charity-mostly shows. And because his legendary Throttle‘s original lineup’ll reunite with Deadspot (first gig since ’92), Trained Attack Dogs and guys from Pagan Babies for a gargling-razorblade escapade to benefit cancer victim Andrea Collins-Smith, Philly’s Punk Rock mommy. It’s March 29 at North Star; there’s raffles from Crash Bang Boom, AKA, Bad Horse, etc., and no fucking guest list so don’t ask. Do this or die, punk.” (A.D. Amorosi – Philadelphia CityPaper)

Band aids and brave faces

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

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The realization I came to last night is that I have spent the last 17+ years trying to protect my children from pain. All types of pain. I am a mommy. A boo boo kisser. I have done everything in my power to insulate them from the pain they are all in now. The hardest part is knowing that I am the cause of all their distress. I just feel like such a jerk. Watching them mope about with fake smiles. Knowing that their brave faces thinly veil the sadness underneath. Kelly cries in private. I am hurting all of them. My stupid cancer is wreaking havoc on all my hard work. I am trying to not fall into a depression here. But it just kills me to watch them suffer. Kelly and I decided that we have to get them and us into a therapeutic situation. Now. We have a few ideas. I just wish I could make all the hurting stop. For me and for them.

I went to my last scan this morning. I also stopped into see the doctor about my biopsy. Yes it is metastatic disease but we knew that. Is it crazy that I prayed it would be a mistake? We do not know the hormone status yet. This is an important detail in treatment. Long story short if it is positive they can give me an additional medication that might help fend off progression. I showed him how in just two days the lymph nodes in my neck/throat have gotten even bigger. A concern to us both. Talk to your doctor. They may want to do surgery or radiation. You may see improvement with chemo. If not it will interfere with swallowing or breathing. I am pretty sure breathing is essential to life. Good to know.

This cancer thing is getting very depressing for us all my friends. What I am up against I am not sure I have the strength to fight. I think all this hard core chemo / surgery / radiation is wearing me out. I am sad. I am tired. And Goliath is very very big. I came home and cried to Kelly. He told me I am not dead. He wants me to fight. He wants me to be willing to do aggressive treatment. Why do I feel like I am fighting a losing battle? Kelly tells me everyday that he loves me. Then he says Don’t die today ok? It reminds me that I am still here. I just have to do this today. He also told me that because I am in a position where I am giving this news to several people each day I am focusing too much on the negative. I am missing all the good stuff as a result. This is likely the case. I need to spend a bit of time going this sucks poor me and move on. He and I agree that if I only have so much time I want it to be very joyful.

I try so hard to feel that. And meditate on peace and acceptance. Sometimes I am successful sometimes not. I want so much to be idealistic and hopeful. It seems like it comes so naturally to other women with my disease. I am a realist. Practical. It is not my nature to think in that way.

And despite my lack of faith, I did spend a few hours researching treatment options that are additional to chemo. Regardless of my willingness to throw in the towel, I researched other chemo options as well. I have been trying to outline a few other options so that we may have a better chance to add some time to my short life. More band aids. I am the boo boo.

More testing

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

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I meant to write sooner but I am in the mist of a lot of testing. In more ways than one. Monday morning was the biopsy of the lymph nodes in my neck. I had it done at the same place where I was diagnosed. So the smart doctor that looked at my breast and knew I had IBC did the procedure. And even though I waited around for a few hours it was worth it. Dr. Englander was amazing. He remembered me. We talked about my disease and its progression. But we also talked about his kids, breastfeeding, education, my kids. It was very good to see him. I find him to be very intelligent, kind, and genuine.

The biopsy was a bit painful. I breathed and moaned through a small bit of it. I was quite sore when it was over. He told me I did very good. He also told me that normally they put people under general anesthesia for the procedure. Was that option? No one told me I could go under. Kelly pointed out that I do pretty badly with general and that this was best. He is probaly right. I am really bummed because the lymph nodes under my collar bones all have cancer. That was where the pain came from. But none of the scans picked it up until now. It just seems like a waste of time. Like they could have maybe prevented the spreading, but I know this is not really the way it goes. If a scan can’t pick it up what more can you do?

Ruth and I went to Trader Joe’s afterward…because I am insane. I was fine until we began to check out. Then the pain and nausea hit me. I got home and spent the rest of the day on the couch. I just let everything sort of happen around me as I dozed on the couch. Naomi watched the baby. Ruth ran my errands and made dinner. Eventually, my older kids came home and relieved my friends to go take care of their own families.

I was really much less sore this morning. Megan came by with Ian and her husband David. Kelly was here too. It was nice to have a little adult time as well as hanging with the babies. Megan and I got to have a quiet lunch together since Shayna came and took Clay to the zoo and Ian went home with his dad. We shopped without kids as well. I spent a lot of the time playing the if/then game with Megan. At times our discussions brought her to tears. And then I would launch into a “don’t cry, God has a plan” speech. Which Megan is annoyed by. I read enough of those on the blog she says. I am allowed to be sad. She is right. A lot of this is very sad. I am too overwhelmed planning for all the what if’s to be sad. I am just trying to make sure my family is safe, cared for, and prepared. I spend much of my time trying to control everything that can be controlled. And also trying to accept whatever I can’t.

As we speak I am about to leave to go to my brain M.R.I This is being done to rule out brain mets. How scary does that sound? And tomorrow morning they are looking at my heart. Maybe they can tell me if it is broken. I will be getting back on here when I am done with all this testing.

He is Risen!

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

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We all woke up at 5a.m. and got ready for sunrise service in Fairmount Park. It is something our church has done for 10 years. We gather in the cold and dark outside on Lemon Hill. We sing. We praise Him. We drink coffee and hot chocolate and sit under blankets. We shiver. We sing some more. The service was very moving for me. I am in love with the members of my church. I love the smiling faces. I enjoy their company and get much from being with them. I was asked to speak a little bit about seeing Jesus in the rubble. As the Resurrection story describes, their is an earthquake and the stone in front of Jesus’s tomb is rolled away. Then the women see an angel who tells them and shows them that Christ is not there. I spoke about the rubble of my life. The earthquake of cancer. And the present God who carries me and loves me. It was a pleasure to speak. I wanted to cry and did. Not for myself per se. I just felt that there was a good possibility that this is my last Easter. And that was a bit sad. I love this day. When Christ rises from the dead to wash away our sin. It is a day of victory. I was quite moved to be there and it meant so much to have my husband,children, and friends around me. I was filled with joy. I felt no nagging depression or malaise. I was thankful for the Lord and that was enough.

All the kids except Alec and Clay came. Alec slept as did Clay until just before we got back home. The rest of us returned home energized and joyful. Naomi and her daughter Novella(Tiny) came with us. We made Easter baskets for the girls and boys. They were filled with just a bit of candy, mostly games and healthy snacks, and a few gift cards.The children all seemed quite pleased to sit around for a bit. Naomi made chocolate bread pudding to bring to brunch. The kids spent yesterday dyeing eggs and making molded chocolates.The eggs and candy too were part of the goodies we brought to our Easter luncheon.We all got ready and left for brunch at the home of a close friend. We all packed up and headed north for a half hour.

We arrived and were greeted by the family of our friend. A huge family of adult children and 25 cousins. We fell right into the fold. Our children ate and played games. They laughed wildly as eggs were rolled down a hill and tossed far into the air. We were so comfortable and happy to be there. Clay explored the huge forest at the bottom of the hill. Dad was close behind him of course. And so we spent the entire afternoon with 40 people who made us feel like one of the family. And I never felt sorry for myself. I never felt sad. I figured if this is my last Easter at least it was a lovely one.

What so good about it?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

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Today is Good Friday. The day Jesus hung on the cross and died. Suffered unto death and awaited the resurrection. Today the earth shook upon His death. Today His head hung low as He wore a crown of thorns. Why do Christians call this good Friday? Why not Sad Friday? I imagine it is because we know that His death secures our life. His death and resurrection insure our freedom. It is hard to imagine the suffering and distress Christ experienced. It is hard to believe that His Father let Him suffer in that way.

Today I feel like I am hanging on something too. When I was first diagnosed I would wake up and remind myself that I had cancer. I started every morning depressed. After a while that feeling left and having cancer became part of me. It was just the new normal. This morning I woke up and was reminded of how much my disease had progressed. I was filled with a heaviness and burden all over again. Today I felt like I too was in a tomb. The tomb of my cancer ridden body. My spirit walks beside me to escape being trapped. I too await a resurrection. A new life. A spirit free from disease.

Today my disciples crowded around me and wept. And prayed. And made plans for the future. Today I was encouraged by their love and commitment. They filled my house with comfort. I walked with my pastor and talked about God and the stations of the cross. I talked about cancer and chemotherapy. Today even with a heavy burden joy permeated my life. Even in this sorrow that gnawed at my bones my spirit was encouraged. I tossed and turned in my tomb and His light shined through. It was a good Friday.

I am thankful for every encouraging and loving word you have uttered.All of it lightens my spirit. All of it brings me peace. I am blessed by you. And I praise God for your presence in my life.

Progression

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

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I am at a loss. I wanted to say something encouraging. But in reality I got some pretty awful news. The lymph node in my neck is cancer. There are several actually. They are all cancer. They also discovered lesions on my liver. These are new. Prior to this my cancer had not been in my organs. There are several small spots. The bone cancer in my sternum and spine appears improved and stable. So the zometa ( bone filler) will continue to be used. My chemo will need to be changed however because clearly it is not working.

The next step is to undergo some more tests to make sure we know exactly what is going on. These include an MRI of my brain and scan of my heart. As well as a biopsy of the cancer in my neck. After the test results are in they will start me on three medications, adriamycin, cytaxan, and avastin. Sadly, I will lose all my hair again. As well as my eyebrows and eyelashes. I will get these once every two to three weeks. Adriamycin is sometimes called red devil because it is red like cool aid and notorious for being harsh. I will only be on this chemo regimen for about 18 weeks. After that I will be re-evaluated and once again be scanned. I will be put on another long term chemo medication.

I spent much of the morning crying. It is difficult not to feel defeated. It is hard to wrap my head around all the change. It is hard to not feel like there is a lot of unfairness in this. I want nothing more than time. I am trying so hard to live. What more can I say. I am sad about being bald again. I am sad about being super sick again. And I am devastaed about the progression. What can I do?

I will keep you all posted as things unfold. In the meantime I did not get chemo this week. I plan on trying to use this time that I feel good and spend it with the kids. I love you all and thank you for your support.

Waiting Room

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

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I felt tense all morning. Clay woke up soaked from head to toe. I had to change the sheets and wash the blanket. Well Kelly did actually. When he returned from the basement he informed me that our dryer was totally dead. It has been coming but I just felt so defeated. I looked at him and said,” I can’t do this. I can’t figure out how to get a new one and how to have it delivered.” He smiled and agreed to take care of it. He searched around on craigslist until he left for work. So no laundry was done today. And none tomorrow I reckon. It’s okay though. This is just life stuff. I can do this. Everyone has to do this. It is just harder when I already feel like all I can do is have cancer. Sometimes I feel like that is all I have energy for. Mentally and emotionally anyway.

I distracted myself all day with the normal tasks. Clean something. Kiss someone. Go to the bank. Drop off videos. Pick up toys. Make dinner for the kids early so they do not need to make it later. Read email. I tried to quiet the thoughts rolling around in my subconscious. I smiled for my kids. I forced myself to be nice. This does not come easy to me when I am feeling stress. Behavioral conditioning. I blame my stress on the fact that every time I get one of these scans it is bad news. Always. So that is what I have come to expect. Maybe Thursday will be different.

Jesse came back from London just as I was leaving for my scan. Everything felt rushed and chaotic. It was not the best start to our homecoming and my tests. My friend Abbie drove me to the hospital. I was told that I did not need to drink any of the yucky stuff. Just three glasses of water. Then the receptionist said I had to “hold it in”. Abbie and I sat for over an hour watching CNN in the waiting room. Finally they called me back. The cat scan technician said I could in fact go to the bathroom, which was wonderful. Then they told me there was no nurse to access my port. I had told the scheduling person that I needed to have my port accessed to inject the contrast dye. In case you don’t know here’s why…when both my breasts were removed they also removed a lot of lymph nodes from under my arms. When they do this it increases the risk of a condition know as lymphedema. Swelling that does not go away. To combat the risk it is recommended that you get no needles in the arms. Or blood pressure. Or tattoos. I already have considerable swelling of my left arm. The last thing I need is to risk it getting worse or happening in the other arm. After a few minutes they found an emergency room nurse who was willing to come up and access me. After that it was smooth sailing.

The cat scan itself did not last very long. Supposedly they did my neck chest and abdomen. This should give us information about the growth in my neck as well as the spot in my sternum and my ribs. I am not sure about the cancer in my spine. I am not sure if the scan will “see” that. But I guess from this we might have a clear indication if my current treatment is working effectively. The waiting game is rough. Waiting to find out if and how much your cancer has spread or hopefully improved. The waiting makes me anxious. I am not myself. I like to be laid back. I like to feel relaxed.

I came home from the hospital and Clay was in need of mommy time. I changed him and snuggled with him until he fell asleep. As I laid there I quietly prayed. I prayed for all my friends with cancer and those in remission. I prayed for my city. I prayed for Barrack Obama. I prayed for my children and yours. I prayed that God would heal me and also the acceptance of His will. As I prayed and meditated on God’s word I felt more and more at peace. I felt more loved and protected. My fear lessened. My peaceful mind returned. Much quieter in spirit I left my sleeping baby and engaged with my family. I am home safe with my kids. Kelly is at work tattooing his hands off. I am going to watch Eddie and the Cruisers with the boys.

Thank you to all of you who love and support me physically and spiritually. It means so much to me. It keeps my spirits high. It makes me smile and laugh. I am blessed.

The Drama

Monday, March 17th, 2008

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I have not been able to write since Friday. Not on purpose but just because I kept getting swept up in the day to day activities of my family. By the end of the day I am too wiped out to even think. I am currently neglecting starting dinner for a minute to say hello. I was really thankful for all the comments to the last post. I was not trying to solicit compliments by telling you all about the “depressing” remarks. I mean cancer can be a downer. I understand. My friend Ruth told me that occasionally people ask her how I am and then say “she’s gonna die, it’s so sad.” Ruth is so baffled by this. She squishes up her face and says,”whatever we’re all gonna die sometime. It’s not like Andrea sits around going boo hoo I have cancer.” I love that. There are days in which I am very stressed out about all this stuff, but not as many as you would think. I am too busy living to worry about dying.

Now I say this even though i am totally in a difficult place. I noticed a “growth” or “swelling” in my neck/throat area on Friday morning. It felt solid and new. I called my doctor. I told her I had no fever or pain that might indicate an infection it what is likely a lymph node. She felt that after feeling it it did not seem like “cancer” but we would have to assume that until the tests results say otherwise. So I have a cat scan tomorrow of my neck,chest, and abdomen. Yes I am scared. Yes I am filled with anxiety. My stress made me snap at my doctor’s nurse after she used the term “no big deal.” I scared her. She left the room. I was a mess. How can I write about this stuff without drawing people into this cancer drama. And that is what it is. Drama.

But it is that way for most of us with cancer. We think all our aches and pains are cancer. People who end treatment fear it will soon return. Those on long term treatment regimens pray to be “cured”. I listen to so many breast cancer stories. They are all so powerful and dramatic. The ups and downs that go with the next scan or test or chemo. I have no idea what will happen on Thursday morning. That’s when I will find out all about the lump in my neck. That’s when I will find out how well my navelbine and zometa are working. I am scared and sick to my stomach.

But in front of my kids everything is fine. I do not dare suck them into this cancer drama. I say nothing until I have hard core facts and a plan. Why worry them needlessly. Kelly asked me if I would regret all the anxiety I have been reacting to if the results are negative. Not at all I told him. Just like my doctor said, we need to assume the worst. Guilty until proven innocent. I am shaking on the inside. I want my chemo to be working. I want no new cancer. I am trying to deal with my old cancer. There is quite enough of that. Now I am officially freaking MYSELF out. Enough. Deep breath. God is good. One day at a time. I can do this.

And even with all this cancer drama swirling in my brain I managed to spend the last few days engaged in fun activities with my kids and Naomi and her kids. We did South Street, the Franklin Institute,the Please touch museum, a birthday celebration for our friend Lauralynn at Vietnam, a few dinners and a playground. Naomi arranged it so that I always got the easy job. Less lifting less stress. She was in the know about my “owthgray” but she too smiled on the outside and felt the pressing sick of cancer drama. I like to share. Why not share the anxiety as well. Its fun for everyone.

Today is Monday. My children are off all week for spring break. Tomorrow is my scan. Wednesday I have physical therapy. Thursday I find out what is going on. One day at a time right? Breathing helps. Praying helps. It will be okay.