Good news & bad news! Breast cancer updates.

Selfie from when I was
trying to sit with the
present and be mindful.

I had written a whole update for you with good news, but after a doctor appointment this morning, it turns out I have good news *and* bad news. The good news outweighs the bad news, but it’s still bumming me out. I was trying so hard to celebrate my “win” yesterday when doctors told me the GOOD news: I don’t need chemo!

I saw an APRN in oncology yesterday (my oncologist was overbooked), who told me that the Oncotype Dx score was 0. Zero. 

A score under 15 typically means that the chemo risks outweigh the benefits. It’s a combination of my age (42) and my tumor size and its genetic makeup. But all that is important here is that, because I had the mastectomy, I don’t need radiation. And because they got clear margins during surgery and the oncotype score was low, chemo would not be beneficial. I’m trying to celebrate that win, but I’m frustrated because: I found out an hour ago that I have to have emergency surgery this afternoon.

I’ve had a hardened outlook, where my instincts see, “Okay, this is good, but what else is going on?” Friends have advised me to celebrate the wins and not think about the future. So I tried to do that, even though I had a nagging feeling. Grrrr. 

I went to the reconstruction surgeon this morning, who has now put me on the schedule for the OR for TODAY to try to clean up an infection. Yes, yes, I know, I know, those of you who told me not to get reconstruction: I see you shaking your heads now and mumbling, “I told you so.” But the past is past, and I’m doing what I can to survive and feel good about myself.

I’m so grateful for you all. Your donations and kind words have kept me going. They have also given me the peace of mind that I’m able to feed my family, or order a craft kit for the boys so they aren’t just tied to screens on days I’m feeling awful -- and still be able to pay my medical bills. 

I’m angry that I have to go back in the OR again, in just a couple of hours. Anesthesia does not sit well with me. I’m angry that this sets me back at least six weeks in the recovery progress. I don’t want to take pain meds, and I don’t want to be bedridden. I was *just* starting to feel better and our amazing meal train ended. Today was supposed to be my first day meal planning and cooking again. Instead I’m going to the hospital and I just want my mom.

Grrrrr. Here is you getting all my emotion today because I was all set to write purely a happy update! This is my problem with focusing on good news. I know the science, and the philosophy of worry, but it also just makes it all worse when you don’t prepare yourself for bad news. Anyway, it’s not the worst news. I’d rather the reconstruction go wrong than the cancer. Blog: 15 things you need when recovering from a mastectomy

***** Ways to support me and my family:

Venmo: @BrigidKaelin (It feels gauche to post this, but during a pandemic, there aren't many other ways to help. So helping with groceries or takeout or hire a babysitter who hasn't been anywhere is helpful. Thank you times a thousand to all who have helped out so much already!)

Paypal: brigidkaelin at gmail dot com Other links/updates: