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Back on the merry-go-round

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from my breast cancer surgeon. That MRI I had last Friday night? It found something.

I’ve got a new lump in my right breast. It’s very small, it might not be cancer, it might just be scar tissue, but it’s in a completely different area of my breast than the cancer and surgery was. It’s where the MRI last Spring found an “area of suspicious enhancement.” I never did find out exactly what an area of suspicious enhancement was, exactly, but after another ultrasound last Spring I was told that it was probably a false positive on the part of the MRI. Now, six months later, there’s a lump there. The surgeon wants to wait and see. She’ll MRI it again in six months and see if it’s changed.

I feel like I just got off the cancer merry-go-round, and I don’t want to jump back on again just yet – especially if there’s nothing I can do about it. I had to get used to having cancer in the first place, and then I had to get used to not having cancer, and now I have to get used to not knowing if I have cancer. And doing nothing. Just waiting.

It’s not that I’m worried. I’m not. One of the benefits of having had cancer is that it stripped the word ‘cancer’ of its power to terrify me. I’m not scared of it anymore. Or maybe I’m just not scared of breast cancer. Or my breast cancer. I don’t know. But I’m not worried or scared.

It’s just that I’m weary. I moved through this past six months on the strength of positive thinking and tons of support from other people. I borrowed positive momentum from everybody I know, including all of you. But a week ago today, when I finished my last radiation treatment, I finally exhaled. I let it all go, all that momentum, because I thought I didn’t need it anymore…I’d made it to the finish line and now I could just let go. I never imagined I’d need to muster it all back up less than a week later. I’m trying, but so far I’m mostly just feeling kind of lackluster and drained.

In the good news department, my back incision has finally healed. The home care nurse pronounced it sealed yesterday, and for the first time since mid-September, I’m dressing-free. (By the way, in case you think I haven’t had a shower for two months, I have to set the record straight. Shortly after Home Care started coming in, they switched to waterproof dressings just so I could shower.)

In other news I’m going to try to get my flu shot today. It should be good for a blog post if nothing else.

And finally, my nanowrimo novel is up to 17,378 words. The last couple thousand words have been kind of smutty, which surprised me even more than the boyfriend who hanged himself in the closet on Page 1.

17 comments to Back on the merry-go-round

  • J.

    I’m sorry to hear about your lump returning :(

  • grace


    We’ve got your (newly sealed) back.

  • I haven’t been on the merry-go-round, but I’d think waiting and seeing would be worse than knowing you’ve got something but being able to do something about it.

    Good wishes and positive thoughts from this corner.

  • You are inspiring. Sending positive thoughts and energy to you.

  • Convince yourself it’s nothing to dwell upon, and spend these six months breathing, resting, healing, and gaining strength.

  • sassy

    You Zoom, are an inspiration. Great news about your dressing-free back. That must feel good.

    Best thoughts you way.

  • 1) Dammit. And positive waves in your direction, either again or still, as you deem appropriate…

    2) Smut? Surprising? Ma’am, I’ve been writing a great shambling wreck of an opus with Mad Jack and Marlboro Man for, oh, decades now, and we invariably default to smut. No idea why that happens. But it hardly surprises us at all, anymore…

  • jr

    Delurking to say: crap. I’m sorry. Just when you thought you had won free of having to think about medical matters for a while.

    As for the smut, I’m impressed. I once tried to write a smutty novel, but the damn characters just wanted to stay up and talk.

  • Sorry to hear about the uncertainty but you’ll ace the waiting time as you did the previous treatment time.
    As for the smut what else could you expect after introducing a well hung boyfriend to the story.

  • Kathleen

    Zoom, so sorry to hear the news about the lump. I wonder why some people seem to never get a break. I am sending you lots of positive thoughts and prayers.

  • Convivialiddell

    Hey, sorry about the new lump they found. But you know, we can get the positive thoughts and happy feelings train going again. Think happy!

  • XUP

    Ye gods! How crazy. Are they actually sure it’s a lump this time, not someone’s finger on the lens or something? Can you get an ultrasound or something to double check before you spend 6 months with this hanging over your head? In other enquiries…will you be posting your novel to your blog, chapter by chapter when it’s all done? That would be fun.

  • Oh that isn’t fair. Gawd how…deflating!

    Thinking positive doesn’t need to be an armour y’know…ou can just assume the best and carry on.

  • Julia

    Yeah, I’m with Xup in the ‘get different tests’ department. When they saw a spot on my liver in the ultrasound, they sent me for a biopsy and then for an MRI so I had 3 tests on that thing. But watchful waiting (what they often do for prostate cancer) is effective too. It is good that you are not anxious about it. I guess if you can distract yourself enough with other things like NaNo and stuff, you can avoid thinking about it too much.

  • lucy

    Sorry to hear about this. At least you’ve caught this second lump (assuming it does turn out to be a lump) really early. If you do have to get back on the merry-go-around again for this one at least you will know what to expect and it will be easier to get through the whole process. So, as Susan said, rest, recover and regain your strength for the next 6 months and convince yourself not to dwell on this (of course I know that is easier said than done).

    I hadn’t really thought of this, but now that you mention it, I am glad to know that you haven’t had to be shower-free for the past 2 months!! :-) I can’t even imagine how icky one would feel after 2 months without a shower. Haha!