Throughout my journey with breast cancer I have encountered several surprises. I often feel like I am one of those old cartoon characters. You know the ones, those poor souls who are just walking along and then suddenly fall flat on their backs after having stepped on a banana peel. Well, this week has not been any different. The past couple of weeks have been kind of strange for me. I have been a bit stressed because even though the Taxol has fewer side effects than my previous chemotherapy drug, Sven wasn’t shrinking. About two weeks ago Sven start to throb and I could swear that he was growing. I talked to my doctors and they checked him out last week and found that he may have grown only a tiny bit, but that they could not be sure if Sven had actually grown or not until this week. It turns out that Sven has started to grow again and I am not responding to this treatment. Woops, another banana! Everything is okay though because we know for a fact that I respond to one form of treatment. Although I wanted to avoid meeting with the devil again, I may have to. Who knows, there are several different types of chemotherapy drugs for me to try. Aside from this reassuring knowledge, I will also be having surgery in the next week or so. I have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday and I will go from there. I certainly was not expecting this anytime soon, but it is a relief to know that Sven is getting kicked out. Although I like to share, Sven and I seem to have very diverse interests.
Due to the fact that I am not responding to my most recent chemotherapy drug, I may not be able to have immediate reconstruction. I was going to have to wait a year for reconstruction to be complete in the first place, but now I will have to wait even longer. This means that I have to deal with that whole patience thing again. This is certainly one side effect nobody warned me about. It would have been nice to at least get a pre-recorded message, “During your cancer journey you will experience tests of patience, please be patient with us while we continue to stab you with needles and information. Thank you for holding your life. We appreciate your patience while you wait.” This also means that, because I am going to China in August, I will probably be completely without any kind of breast until next summer. That is okay because there are all sorts of different types of prosthesis out there for women who have had mastectomies. I am certain I will find one that suits me just fine (breast shopping anyone?). Also, I will most likely have to have multiple surgeries instead of just two. No one ever said that this was easy, but I have to say that I am pretty damn sick of procedures. I guess my patience is running out. Am I allowed to ask for a refill? All jokes aside, saying goodbye to Sven right now also means saying goodbye to my breast a lot sooner than I had expected. Yes, I knew this was coming, but I also thought I had a bit more time to get used to the idea. Perhaps it is better this way? Maybe it is better in the same way that ripping a band aid off quickly is better than peeling it away slowly. Either way it’s a shocker and I have to admit that I am a little bit scared.
Though I may be scared, I am still an optimist (Yes, you can still be an optimist and not have patience.). Not responding to treatment has been one of my biggest fears and now that it has happened I find that I am less upset about than I thought I would be (albeit clearly a little bit on the bitter side…). Having the surgery means Sven is moving out! It also means that my treatment will be more specialized as the doctors will be able to analyze Sven and know more about him and what treatment to continue with. Yay for informed chemotherapy! I have to wonder what “informed chemotherapy” looks like. I like to imagine a handsome man with dark hair and glasses who knows a lot about what is going on in the great, wide world of cancer. Aside from good looking chemotherapy, the prospects for my future look good and I will still be done with my treatment in time to leave for China. All in all it is not so bad. I cannot wait to be done with this and start to move forward again. I hope that everything goes well in the next few months and that I do not have to deal with cancer again in this lifetime. However, if I do then I will just keep jogging along and hope that I don’t step on any more bananas.