Thursday, November 8, 2007

Half Way Home

Hi everyone,

It's 6 am on Thursday. Yesterday went to the doctor to hear the results of the pathology tests on the tissue collected during surgery last Friday. She also had her drain removed.

Dr. Compagnoni told us that 15 lymph nodes had been removed during surgery. Once the first sentinel lymph node was tested in the OR and found to be cancerous, more were removed.

The report indicates that three of the fifteen had disease. This is one of those glass half full or half empty things. It's good because it appears that no real spread of the disease is present, but with any disease in the lymph nodes, there is a chance and a likelihood that cancer cells, microscopic in nature, have migrated elsewhere in the body.

Dr. Compagnoni had spoken already to Dr. Weyburn, the oncologist, and Deb will meet with a radiologist soon to map a series of radiology treatments, lasting perhaps six to seven weeks. She will go once a day, as we understand it, and the side effects should be localized. That is, some burning at the radiation site, but nothing like what she had, and still has from the chemotherapy.

The other interesting piece of news is the pathological report on the tumor. Contained in the breast tissue removed during surgery was a tumor, two centimeters in length, what remained from the six centimeter tumor identified in the original MRI. Six centimeters is the length of my smallest finger from the tip to my palm. Two centimeters. is about 3 /4 of an inch. That is the length, not the volume, of course. Why it wasn't seen by the MRI is a mystery, but it underscores, in my opinion the importance of follow up testing.

The last few days have been a roller coaster for Deb. She has been thrilled with all the phone calls and visits. The e mails to me and to her have lifted us so much. We even have people praying for us that don't normally pray, and can you imagine how God must be pleased with that. I never forget how He uses everything for good. Deb's cancer must seem to most people something without any redeeming quality, but if someone turns to God in prayer, for the first time, or after a long absence, how powerful that is in His sight. What a blessing to Deb.

The dinner brigade has been supplied us with gourmet meals and taken that completely off our minds. The great people in my area at Metra have arranged for food to be delivered to us next week, so our blessings continue. Yesterday, Lori, Dee and Mary, of Deb's monthly dinner group, delivered lunch and kept her company until close to when she left for the doctors. Deb's group at Kemper sent the most beautiful flower arrangement and with it several gift certificates for local restaurants. At the very least, we will no go hungry anytime soon :). What a blessing!

Kathi, my daughter, came in from Michigan yesterday at about noon. She and I had some time to spend together before Deb's doctor's appointment at 4:30pm, so we had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes, and shopped at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. Loni Marik took Deb to the doctors. Deb has been very frightened and close to tears the last few day, concerned and prepared for the worst.

Last night was a relief in most ways, but she had more pain than usual in her chest.

So we continue on with this journey. Our compass direction set, but without really knowing the final destination. The doctors may quibble with this, but I believe that most times the final results of cancer treatment is out of their hands, and they do the things that have a high percentage of success and hope for the best.

Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
Henry Miller 1891-1980, American Author

Another way to look at cancer and chemo.

My veins are filled, once a week with a Neapolitan carpet cleaner distilled from the Adriatic and I am as bald as an egg. However I still get around and am mean to cats.
John Cheever 1912-1982, American Author

God Bless all of you for your prayers, love, patience, help and friendship.
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