Saturday, May 11, 2019. I remember when I was young and school let out for summer vacation. It seemed to last forever. The summers were long and every day was an adventure. I think the reason the days, weeks and months seemed so endless is because, as a kid, you live in every moment of every day. Even now, that’s what I have tried to do when I was on vacation. Live in the moment to make the time seem to move as slowly as possible.
Cancer is like that. It forces you to live every minute of every day in the moment. You don’t spend your days thinking about or reliving what you have done. You don’t think much about what you have to do tomorrow or in the days ahead. You are just focused on surviving. So the days, weeks and months seem especially long. That’s what it has been like for me since September of last year.
My appointment with Dr. Ewing on Friday, May 3rd was super encouraging. She said the cancerous lymph node under my arm is a “piece of cake” to remove. She is confident that she can get all that remains of my main tumor, with a cautionary note that she won’t know for sure until she gets in there. But if all goes according to the best case scenario, I won’t even need radiation afterward. Right on.
My appointment with Dr. Rugo on Wednesday, May 8th was good, too. She said the results of Friday’s blood draw looked great, although I am a little anemic. Her examination of my tumors confirmed that they are much smaller. She recalled how they were easily visible through my skin when she first saw me, and now they are difficult to find. The one thing she would like to see is for me to gain some weight. I’m trying hard to break the 90-pound mark, but it remains out of reach. The chemo really messed with my metabolism.
The surgery; an axillary sentinel lymph node dissection: open, unilateral; will be orthoscopic. Dr. Ewing will place a pen-like device into an incision and observe it through glasses that have microscope-like lenses. The device, with its magnetic tip, will go straight to the magseeds which will be implanted in my cancerous lymph nodes prior to the surgery. Ewing will use the device to snip out what remains of the tumor. It also cauterizes the tissue when it snips. I check-in for the magseed implants at 945a on Wednesday, May 15. They have blocked out 2 hours for the procedure. Surgery is scheduled for 230p. It will take about 1½ hours. Then I will be observed in recovery for an hour or two. During that time they will have me drink some juice, eat a cracker, and take a pee before they send me home. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
I have post-op appointments with Dr. Rugo (1030a) and Dr. Ewing and the post-op nurse (245p) on Friday, May 24. Then all that remains are the routine follow-up appointments to make sure the cancer hasn’t returned. It truly is the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life. —Lucius Annaeus Seneca