Monday, January 26, 2009

Lynn, I have good news!

I got up earlier during the night and my back still had that nerve pinched or swollen and I was struggling to get out of bed without making a painful noise. I prayed hard that the swelling would go down enough to relieve some of the pain, for me to be able to make it to Radiation in the morning. When the alarm went off I was surprised (pleasantly) that I was able to get up without too much pain. I was able to get showered, dressed and at my appointment on time.

I really thought when I went to these daily appointments I would be able to connect with the other people there in the waiting room, but instead the room is very quiet, solemn and has a sad tone to it. Most of the people look very tired and don't usually give eye contact; it is a different atmosphere.

After my 4th treatment the nurse told me to get dressed and wait for the Doctor; on Monday's they visit with you to see how you are doing. I didn't have much to report since this was only my 4th treatment. The best thing though that did happen when I met with him, was what he said to me. He mentioned that he had been in California over the weekend for a Conference about Radiation. He said that they report the latest data and updates on Cancer treatments with radiation.

I have to back track a minute here!  Now when I first met him, he said that the Standard Procedure for Breast Cancer was to radiate 3 areas for the best results for survival. The axillary area (arm pit), the chest wall area (which is also called the surgery site) and then the area right at the base of your neck above your collar bone(can't remember the name for it).

When we got home, I studied out the pros and cons of radiation and of those 3 particular areas. Jeff and I talked about it making sense to radiate the axillary area since I did have 2 lymph nodes involved and the surgery site area because that is where the cancer returned. But I wasn't sure about the neck area and I studied more, there were a lot more side effects when you get into that area. You sometimes wish that you had a degree in this field to truly understand all that they are throwing at you; the terminology  alone is confusing. When I was reading all this information and got so overwhelmed, I basically just prayed that I could absorb enough to understand what my options were. Then I just went with my gut feeling.

When we returned to the Doctor's office after Christmas, I told him that I had decided to do radiation... with the condition that we would only radiate 2 areas, axillary and the chest wall. Since I only had 2 lymph nodes involved I didn't feel like the benefits were worth the risks to do that third area.

Back to my story... He mentioned that the latest data on all of this, is that if a patient has less than half of her nodes involved, that it really isn't beneficial to have that 3rd neck area radiated. I am sure he explained it much better than that, but basically the bottom line is... that statistics have proven that the benefits do not outweigh the side effects. Then he said " Lynn, your gut feeling was right! I was so excited when I heard the latest data so that I could come back and tell you that you are doing the right thing, you made the right choice. We no longer will treat all three areas now, as Standard Procedure".  It did make me feel good, my reply to him was short and simple " Dr. all my life I have tried to follow my gut feeling and that is what I have taught my kids to do and usually it turns out to be right". I did feel sorta sad though, for all those women who already had that 3rd area radiated because it was the STANDARD TREATMENT and then suffered all the side effects ...they are the STATISTICS that he was talking about. Real women... who suffered and most likely it was unnecessary.

So, I left his office grateful that I had listened and stood up for my gut feeling. Honestly though it is very hard to listen to your gut feeling when you are so scared. That is why I feel like IF you can, try not to make rash decisions but take the time out to really investigate all your options and know the facts. Get to a place in your mind and heart that is calm enough to make a decision.

The last thing that I want to mention is I had another Angel visit today. This dear friend came over with her two little ones and spent the whole day in my kitchen making dinners for our freezer. She knows me all too well, she knows that I am not making very many dinners for my family lately and when I do... it takes more energy and effort than I have. I know that she is a busy mom of four and has TO DO lists a mile long for each day, but she chose to take one whole day out to serve a friend. What an unexpected blessing.

Well, I have been down all evening on my ice pack, I feel bad because right now, Lee is playing his JV basketball game and also has been asked to play with the Varsity team after that and  I am not there to see it. Jeff did take the video camera, so I hope he got Lee's playing time. He is an amazing athlete, he has loved playing ball since he was a little boy. I think what makes him good at it because when he is playing sports, he gives 150% every time. It makes me tired watching him and my body hurt when you see how hard he plays. But he loves it and it is fun to see him play. I hope my back gets better soon so that I can make the last few games of the season.  Thanks for checking in on me. Here are my quotes and photo for the day!


"Angels can fly directly into the heart of the matter".  ~Author Unknown

"The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God".  ~Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

"Your heart sees what is invisible to the eye"


Ruth and Paul said...

I love you Lynn. What more can I say? When I think of all of our conversations, the depth of our feelings as we talk and the amazing strength and insight you it any wonder? The feelings just get stronger and I adore you!

Julie N. said...

You are incredible - you do know what is exactly right for you and your body, never, never doubt yourself :-)
I'm here cheering for you and I only hope you can feel it!!
love you!

Karma said...

You are truly amazing! I bet your doctor would not have paid such close attention if you hadn't chosen a different path. Congrats on making that treatment center a better place.