I was going through some papers today, looking for information on lymphedema when I found some notes summarizing the results of the tests performed on my tumours.
I've been so bogged down in the grind of treatment and its side effects that I sometimes lose perspective on why I am doing this. This was a worthwhile, if chilling, reminder to re-visit the medical big picture.
The pathologists from whom I had asked for an informal second opinion explained that I had a "high grade tumour and very agressive cancer." They also advised me that I probably had dormant cells elsewhere in my body, since my cancer cells "showed an inherent characteristic of dissemination", as was evident from the fact that I had positive lymph nodes (and, by the time of surgery, palpable tumours under my arms). Their final words of advice were, "don't hold back thinking you'll have multiple ways to come back at this. Assume this is your best shot now."
And that is why I am putting myself through all this. Agressive cancer means agressive treatment.
As my friend A. said, in a very loving message she sent me in February, "Cancer is bad but we will be badder."
And we have been.