UnDomestic

Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A briefing...what's to come.

I went to see a wonderful surgeon today who took time out of his weekend to meet with Melvin and me to talk all about my breast cancer.

Dr. Sanan was absolutely amazing. He first asked me if I knew much biology. I laughed and said that the only bio class I took in college was freshman year, Introduction to Life. We had three tests, I pulled an all nighter before each test, aced the class, and didn’t learn a damn thing! He then drew a circle on a piece of paper and told me that was a cell. “You do know that your body is made up of cells?” I giggled, and informed him that Yes, this I knew, but to continue explaining everything as simple as he could, because I really didn’t know much else.

He explained it all very well, without making me feel stupid. He had wonderful analogies and drew great pictures, and even though my mind still wandered sometimes despite the fact that he was a whole three feet in front of me, I still understood almost all of what he said. But please don’t ask me to explain it, because understanding what he said and reiterating what he said are two different levels of comprehension. And I’m not at that higher level.

But this is what I can tell you.

Despite the fact that I’m 34 and don’t have a history of it in my family, I have breast cancer, called Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma.

On Monday they are doing a PET scan, which involves me drinking some radioactive glucose and then having a scan of my whole body done. Did you get that…radioactive material! Look out Fantastic Four, you might have a fifth mutant on board soon.

Then on Tuesday they’re doing an MRI.

After these tests are done, the doctors will know how exactly to proceed.

But basically Dr. Sahan told me that either at the end of this week or early next week I’ll have surgery. I could have a lumpectomy, but the way he was talking, it will most likely be a mastectomy. Whether it will be a single or a double, the tests will show.

Then because of my age, most likely 3 to 4 weeks later I will start chemotherapy...I think, if I heard it correctly, it could last up to a year.

Whether I will need radiation or hormone therapy will be decided after the tests.

Whether or not I will have reconstructive surgery right away, a couple days later, or months later, if at all, will be determined by the tests this week and whatever I decide.

So that’s what’s going on.

He sent me home with some book on breast cancer, as “homework.” And told me of another book to purchase and read.

Tonight, after spending a couple hours outside with the kids while Melvin got some sleep after a very busy night on call, we headed to the “Great Minnesota Get-together” otherwise known as the “State Fair.” Afterwards, I really wanted nothing to do but take a bath and relax, which usually involves reading a book. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my “homework” that the doctor wanted me to educate myself with. But come on, did I really want to read a book about cancer while trying to relax? Because my other option was Love, Stargirl, the YA sequel to Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl, which I taught a few years ago and absolutely loved. I was torn. I could be the good “student” that I usually was, or I could just say “screw it” my husband’s a doctor and basically no matter how “informed” I am, I’m just going to ask him his opinion and probably just do what he says anyhow.

“Screw it” won out, and now I’m immersed in the life of the unique but adorable Stargirl as she writes in diary form to her former, and hopefully future love, Leo. It might be hard for me to pick up my assigned homework until this novel is finished. And yet, I don’t think this is an assignment I can turn in late!

Thank you to everyone for your very kind words, thoughts, prayers and abundant offers for help. If I don’t respond to you, please don’t think I’m ignoring you. It’s all so much right now. But please know that right now I feel so loved and surrounded by such amazing family, friends and cyberfriends!

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14 Comments:

At 12:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cari-
You don't know me, but I have fallen in love with your family reading your blog that I happened upon by chance. I have had two very important women in my life go through this the last two years and it is difficult to say the least but not impossible. From what I have witnessed from afar, there have been some very specific things that rang true.
Cry and scream at the world when you need to, then move forward. It is ok to even scream at God. It does not make you a bad person. Talk to people that are going through this and have gone through it. They are your best source of information and can understand. People need to help. They cannot do anything else to rid your body of this and you need to let them do this even when it is a bother as those close to you will also be lost for awhile. But most of all, talk. Talk about your fears and annoyances and joys.
Finally, Cameron will likely make inappropriate comments about death around you. It will be his way of communicating with you his fears in ways he will not be able to do otherwise. Let him know you are afraid as well, but will make it through. You may think he does not know what is going on, but he will.
I am sorry this has happened to you, but you will be ok with the love and support of your wonderful family and friends. You are very lucky to be so loved and this will become even more evident as this life path begins.

 
At 1:56 AM, Blogger Jana said...

You don't know me either. I found your blog through Kathleen (The Saavy Mom). I read your blog from time to time and I am just dumbfounded at the complete turn of events that have occurred in your family this week especially your diagnosis. I just wanted to say that a very close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 2 years ago at the age of 33. She lives in Houston and was treated at MD Anderson. She had a mastectomy followed by chemo and radiation a few months later and at one year from her diagnosis was determined to be cancer-free. She is now expecting her first child conceived naturally (she had her eggs harvested and frozen before treatment just in case). Her little boy will be born in October, exactly 2 years to the month of her diagnosis.

I cannot imagine what you must be going through right now but can tell from your writing that you will meet it head on surrounded by the love of your family. Just take it one day at a time. I'll be reading along and keeping you in my prayers.

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger Agent M said...

((((You)))) You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers. Please update often.

 
At 7:59 AM, Blogger Ann said...

Cari - focus on yourself (a tough thing for a mom). You are the first 'face' I know of my age group to face breast cancer, it does make all the breast cancer aweareness/fund raising events in September (at least in Canada) more necessary.

Take your time, just remember many friends are thinking of you.

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger mommyof3 said...

Cari-- PLEASE PLEASE let me know if I can help you with anything!! Even if it is just making a meal and bringing it to your family so you guys do not need to worry about meals to cook...............What I am going through is a puddle of water compared to your hurricaine.........Please do not hesiate to let m eknow if you need anything and I mean anything!

 
At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Carina & Ryan said...

Cari,
It's Carina and Ryan from North Carolina. We're so sorry to hear the news about your diagnosis. You are in our thoughts and prayers always. If there is anything you or Melvin need through the distance, please let us know! We are thinking of you.

 
At 1:44 PM, Blogger KC said...

Cari, I am stunned and so, so sorry you're facing this.

I'll be thinking of you all the time, reading along, and hoping and praying for the best.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger mommyof3 said...

Cari- I was surfing ONLINE-----and ran acrossed this prayer, and It sums up what I have been prayering, so I wanted to share it with you----

Father, for the strength you have given me I thank you. For the health you have blessed me with, I thank you. For the women who are going through breast cancer and their families I ask you to strengthen and to heal as you see fit. Lord we know you want us to be in good health and to prosper. Lord use us to do the work you have for us to do. For we know time is getting short on this earth. Lord be with every woman who is sick and encourage them as only you can. I know how faithful you are. You have shown yourself to be everything you say you are in your Holy Word. I praise you for you made this body and you can heal this body.

 
At 3:51 PM, Anonymous dana said...

Cari,

I can't bear to think about what you are going through. It truly breaks my heart, but I keep picturing you in the comforting arms of Jesus and it comforts me too.

I have called and emailed all of my friends and they are ALL praying for you.

I love you

Dana

 
At 6:52 PM, Blogger Bethany said...

Hi Cari,

Well count me as another cyber-friend, although you do know me, sort of! I have loved following your blog since you gave out the address sometime during mom's group stuff; and as a fellow blogger for my parents across the country, I can say that you are so good at it! I've loved following it.

So, I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking of you and praying for you and your family. There is so little else to say right now that seems to matter- just wanted to let you know I will be praying for you.

Bethany Peterson

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger IrishMommy said...

Cari,
Please call me if you need ANYTHING... I will be praying for you and love you so much!
Shawn

 
At 8:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus and the Angels are watching over you Cari as you travel down this path. You have such loving, supportive family and freinds... with love and prayers...

 
At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Jen said...

Hey Cari!
Its cousin Jen. I just want you to know that I love you and if you need ANYTHING you can call or e mail me. You are in everyone's thoughts and prayers. (Rob actually told me he was reading your blog, which was pretty funny to me!)

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Jaye said...

Cari -
You DO know me and I am praying for you and your family. So many things I want to say and do for you right now, but I know that prayer is the best thing - God is a healer, and He will take care of you and your family through this difficult time. (Read Psalm 34 & 37). I had a cancer scare earlier this year (and will be monitored every six months for the next three years to see if what is happening in my body will eventually develop into cancer), so I can totally understand the feelings you are having right now, though your reaction is awesome.

I also just got my sweatshirt from the Revlon Run/Walk for Women's Cancer (which means so much more to me now that this has hit so close to home). Let me know what I can do to help - you are loved!

 

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