We'll start with some good news, because I think everyone can use it.
The MRI of the right breast came back clean! Pancho is staying.
The left breast showed additional lesions but that doesn't change a thing. Lefty is leaving anyway. And, no. I have never previously referred to my breasts by name but a ridiculously dear friend from my college days happened to refer to them as such in an email the other day and I laughed so hard, I spit coffee. Still makes me chuckle and I figured everyone else might enjoy the laugh too.
Now I'm laser focusing every piece of positive thinking toward 6/17 when I will have the left side sentinel lymph nodes removed. The activities of next several months hinge on the results of this surgery. If those lymph nodes are free of cancer, we are looking at a mastectomy with reconstruction and a trip to Texas on 6/19 (not at all in that order!). If cancer is found in the sentinel lymphs, I have to play by different rules.
Since I've already met the chemo doc and explained that, while she was no doubt very nice and surely extremely adept at her job, I would not be needing her poison drug services; finding cancer in the lymph nodes would certainly create an awkward situation between her and I. I mostly likely would have to bake cookies to reingratiate myself into her good graces.
Same may or may not be true for the radiation doc. I was busy hatching a plan in my head when he was talking to me.
The flood of positive energy, through hugs, conversations, email, phone, text, silly videos and a couple deliveries of flowers, dark chocolate and hard cider has been beyond amazing. In fact, there are some emails I read again and again because they give me such a sense of peace and strength. That or they make me laugh so hard I snort, which is awesome too.
Either way, I'm not feeling alone. Sometimes solitude is welcome and sometimes solitude is the gateway to dark, brooding thoughts. I haven't spent much time physically alone in the last few days and this has been a good thing. I'm either pleasantly distracted or talking with someone that can help me process reality. Often times, I am getting most comfortable with the whole situation when I'm talking someone else down from their own emotional ledge. A win - win.
Those few times that I have been alone, I am either gardening, exercising or writing. My garden has always been a glorious retreat from the bothers of the real world and the events of the last three weeks has not changed that. My front yard is a wreck but I'm packaging that concern up and letting it go. Exercise is my drug of choice (okay, AFTER coffee!). All the jumbly, grumbly thoughts in my head begin to order like neat files or fit together like jigsaw pieces when my body is in motion. Exercise helps me think. Writing is just another form of talking, and I love to talk, but being able to go back and read the feelings I may not have consciously shared with myself, helps me process too.
I stood on the beach, facing the ocean yesterday afternoon. Over the cacophony of early summer beach celebrations, I listened with my whole body to the crash of the waves. With every ebb and flow, I felt the power of nature deep in my bones. When I close my eyes and look for strength, I will see the faces of family and friends and hear the power of the tide.