Well, I looked my demons in the eyes
Laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me
You see, I've been to hell and back so many times
I must admit you kind of bore me"
- Ray LaMontagne
After yesterday's valley of sadness, fear, and changing view of the world, I awoke this morning with a renewed sense of inner power. Today was the day I met with the breast surgeon to discuss my MRI results and schedule my mastectomy. My appointment wasn't until later this afternoon, and the weather had quickly redeemed itself from last week's snowstorm, so I went downtown to sit by the waterfall in the sunshine for lunch.
As I sat there, letting the sun shine down on my mostly hairless head, I watched the people walk by. Some avoided eye contact, some asked me if my head was cold, and at one point, I looked over and a man was taking my picture. Naturally I did the Anncredible thing and I gave a big smile and struck a pose. It felt wonderful to be out in nature, soaking in every delicious sound, sight, smell and feeling. I even took my shoes and socks off and dug my bare feet into the grass. I wanted that last hour of freedom from whatever truth I was about to hear from the doctor.
By the time I arrived at my appointment, I noticed that my neck muscles were so tense I could hardly turn my head. I was about to find out if the cancer was still in my body. Did I grow new tumors? Did the chemo fail? What would happen if it did? I waited impatiently.
When the doctor walked in, she said, "You're not going to believe this. I wanted to do cartwheels down the hall to get here. The cancer is gone." She wrapped her arms around me and tears started to stream down my face. I couldn't believe it. Then she pulled out the MRI results....
|"The multiple enhancing masses previously seen in the right breast are no longer identifiable"|
I had six tumors when I started on this journey in September. Now, after chemotherapy, NONE are there. The doctor said that's called "Complete Pathologic Response", and is the best possible outcome. She said that only 20% of patients have that kind of response, and it is a great predictor for overall survival. And based on what the Oncologist told me a couple weeks ago, this puts me at only a 15% chance of recurrence in the next 10 years. HOLY CRAP! This is unbelievable news.
Because of the number of tumors and their size when I started, I still have to do the mastectomy and radiation. The surgery is scheduled for March 3rd, and I'll be in the hospital a night or two. And the five weeks of radiation will begin a couple weeks after surgery. None of it will be easy. But somehow, it makes it so much easier knowing the chemotherapy worked on me.
I'm so grateful for this moment. I'm so grateful for all the prayers, support, and love that continues to envelope and empower me. Now I feel like I need to celebrate!!