Everything shifted yesterday. I can’t pin it on any one thing, it was more like a change in the direction of the tide, a pulling to the left instead of the right. A sense of relief washed over me and I let myself believe that I am going to be okay. And while I know it’s not over, it feels over. It feels resolved.
Dr. P walked into the exam room grinning from ear to ear. “Congratulations on your Oncotype DX score,” she said. “I have to give you a big hug!” She should write a book for doctors on how to take care of patients. I have never met another doctor who gives so much of herself, so much encouragement, support, and hope. She just gets it. She seems to know exactly what I need. Maybe there was a part of me that couldn’t trust my results until I spoke to her. Or maybe I just needed some time to settle into it.
I left my appointment yesterday feeling better than I’ve felt all week. And though Dr. P and I talked for a long time about the future, about whether or not the cancer can come back, and what would happen if I opted not to do anti-hormone therapy/Tamoxifen, none of it was enough to pull me back out to sea. I remembered what I’ve always known: nothing is for certain, but it’s going to be okay.
Today at lunch my son looked up at me and said, “You seem like you’re getting better and better every day.”
I assured him I am. “It’s getting easier,” I told him. “I feel really strong.” We talked for a bit about California, about our plans for the summer, and I felt a tremendous sense of relief.
I told both of my surgeons this week that I’m waiting to finish my breast reconstruction until after we come back. They both agreed that was the best plan. Dr. P even joked about it, “I’ll only agree if you take me with you.” And, of course, I would in a heartbeat. She’s the doctor you would choose to be friends with.
I still have to figure things out with my oncologist. I don’t need chemo, but I know there are going to be years of ongoing pharmaceutical care. Dr. F told me that I am too young not to do anything, and Dr. P had a fit when I asked her if Tamoxifen was really necessary. “I won’t let you not take it,” she said. “It’s simply too important.”
So while I know whatever my oncologist has planned will not interfere with our time in California, I still want to wait for her blessing before I book our tickets.
It feels strange to say I’m cancer-free, or that I’m a cancer survivor… but it feels equally strange to say I have breast cancer. Maybe this, too, takes time to sink in. One sea change at a time.