I had the bilateral mastectomy on Wednesday, September 18th as scheduled. Thankfully, also 'as scheduled', the sentinel node biopsy came back benign. This means that the cancer did not get into the lymph nodes, which is when things begin to get really scary. There were far more DIC (ductal invasive carcinoma) than even showed up on the scans and at least some of them did permeate the vessels. This all but guarantees I will require chemo. But, to be sure, there is still some testing on the tissue underway - confirmation of the initial diagnosis of ER/PR+ HER2- and, pending that confirmation, Oncotype-ing - a test that defines the likelihood of recurrence. All of this, plus a plan will (hopefully!) be available to me on October 22 at my oncology appointment.
The healing process is taking some time - understandably - and there are days when I feel great, followed by days when I feel pretty crappy. One might deduce that I push too hard on the good days, but those are just sissies talking ;) All in all, I am physically doing considerably better just 15 days out which is encouraging on the cancer front.
I'm not doing all too well on the Quinn front. My biggest beef with this whole breast cancer crap is that I am being robbed - once again - of time 'with' Quinn, this time for grieving. A friend so poignantly put it - Did you ever think in a million years that something would happen in your life to make cancer seem like no biggie?? This should have been the worst thing that ever happened to us. Yet after losing Quinn, I can barely muster the interest in the Rah-Rah Pink support to acknowledge that it's more than a pain in the ass. When people ask how I'm feeling or doing, I have to mentally switch gears because now 99% of the time, it's about the mastectomy and not about Quinn.
In the past 55 days since she's been gone, so much has changed and that in and of itself is just nonsense. All of this with my health, the boys have gone back to school -with Colin starting Kindergarten, and, worst of all, the world has lost two more beautiful babies :( One was another child with NPA, whose family chose to battle privately but who Brett and I had the opportunity to meet back in January. Another was the six year old son of my friend from college who battled a rare cardiac illness his entire life. Please keep both of these families in your thoughts, especially sending them good thoughts for peace - they will all need it.
The show must go on literally meant immediately and it feels terribly unfair to leave Quinn behind so quickly. I'm meeting new parents at Colin's school and, though they are admittedly few and far between, there are still some families in the area who don't know about us, about Quinn. And I find myself repeating the same thing to the same seemingly innocuous, actually horrendous question - "How many kids do you have?".
I did have the foresight to anticipate the gut wrenching reaction this inevitable question would cause me over and over and over as I used to lay awake, before Quinn even passed, debating how to answer the question to well-meaning strangers. But now, there is no question.
Three. I have three children. I offer details when asked, and always refer to her as "my daughter, Quinn." Because everyone should know her name - she was just too amazing not to.
So, there is my update in a James Joyce-style stream of consciousness. Thank you for caring so much. And as always thank you for remembering Quinn - nothing means more to us than that.
Some older photos I recently came across:
|photo credit: Forever Fireflies|