Tests and the waiting game
Okay, Tom Petty, you know your stuff. The waiting is the hardest part…at least so far.
The initial diagnosis happened so fast. It was Boom! Lump. Boom! Mammogram and ultrasound. Boom! Biopsy. Boom Boom Hiss! It’s cancer, bitches.
Just two days after learning I had breast cancer I met with my breast surgeon, Dr. Boobcutter. A week after that I met with my oncologist, Dr. Cappucino. In between and since has been a whole lot of waiting.
What am I waiting for?
- Genetic testing to see if I carry the breast cancer gene BRCA. Why is this a big deal? Because if I’ve got it, there’s a 30% chance that the cancer will recur. It’s in this case that we start discussing a double mastectomy. Upside: Angelina Jolie reconstruction tits? Downside: All of my relatives and descendants are in jeopardy. My blood was drawn for this on March 12. Dr. Boobcutter said it would be 7 to 10 days.
- Breast MRI. This will give us a clue as to if Turdy has sent scouts into my lymph nodes. Why is this a big deal? Because if my nodes are clean we can probably just evict Turdy and do a round of radiation. I.e. no chemo. What’s the holdup? My goddamn menstrual cycle. [Editor Me: Yuck, are we really doing this? Writer Me: Are we going for pretty or honest? Editor Me: *sigh* Writer Me: Okay, then.] Because boobs swell and change over the course of the month, they need to pinpoint the MRI between day 7 and day 13 of the cycle. Which means that I’m supposed to call the scheduler when I get my period. So they (Boobcutter, Cappucino, and the MRI peeps) are all waiting for that to happen. And you know how being stressed out about it helps that situation. This may be even more stressful than a teenage broken condom scenario.
- HER2 Antibodies. The initial test (IDC or immunohistochemistry) came back 2+ or “equivocal,” requiring further testing. The second test (I assume FISH or Fluorescence in-situ Hybridization) was also inconclusive. So apparently they are now running a third test. Why is it a big deal? Because if my cancer has HER2 antibodies it is very aggressive. And I may get chemo prior to surgery (this is called neoadjuvant therapy). If Turdy the Tumor is HER2 negative I may not need chemo at all! So HER2- = maybe chemo HER2+ = Chemo City. Basically, this is a test I want to flunk. HER2-positive cancers are much more likely to recur and the five year survival rate drops significantly. Do not want.
So, really, I’m just sitting around waiting to take tests and to get test results. Except when I went to see It Follows with Gunny last Friday. And spent most of the film checking for messages from Dr. Cappucino’s office because at that point the second HER2 test was already a week late. Halfway through the film I saw a missed call and went into the hall to return it and found out that it would be another week for that pesky HER2 shit. That was scarier than the movie.
I have a new book coming out next week and it’s really hard to give a shit. I want to DO something. I mean besides bingewatch Empire and Bloodline and The Jinx. I want this fucker out of my body.