It was a pretty typical weekend for us. We rode our bikes a couple hours each day, ran errands, worked around the house, visited my Dad, had dinner with my Mom, watched the Super Bowl (I admit I took a short nap during the game), and played touch football. This last one was a bit weird and after about 10 minutes I decided that I much prefer riding my bike!
I also did a lot of research. Some may say that I'm obsessed, but I want to be educated and confident in every decision that we make so I have been tapping into PubMed an online source for medical journal abstracts. I now feel really comfortable with my surgery decision for next Monday.
And finally, more good news. Shannon called me from work this morning. The results from my lymph node biopsy are in. They are NEGATIVE. This is not to say that all of my lymph nodes are negative, but it does mean that the sentinel lymph node dissection will be done as opposed to the axillary lymph node dissection. Sentinel lymph node dissection reduces my chance for lymphedema in the future. Lymphedema is a condition where fluid collects in the arm (or other areas such as the hand, fingers, chest or back) causing it to swell (edema). Not something that a cyclist, or anyone for that matter, wants to deal with. I am still going to take maximum precautions against lymphedema and plan on learning manual lymph drainage techniques this week.
There are three more giant hurdles to get through for this to be 'best case scenario' for me. I need my MRI this afternoon to be negative (with the exception of the tumor that we know is already there). If this is the case we will have a screening tool to help detect future cancers (since mammogram does not work for me) and we can be confident with a lumpectomy. I also hope that it does not show any additional cancers that we have not yet found. Please send positive energy my way at 1:15 for a negative MRI. The rest of the hurdles are dependent on pathology reports from my surgery. I need the sentinel lymph nodes to come back negative and the Oncotype Dx on my tumor that is removed to show a low risk of reoccurrence. I still don't know exactly what this will mean treatment wise, but I know that it is 'best case scenario'.
Overall, I am doing okay. I still feel great physically, but my emotional strength and mood change frequently, although I guess that is not too different from before :)
This I know. I feel strongest, most confident, and almost invincible when I am on my bike. I will fight this. I will race my bike.
Thank you everyone for all of the kind notes, gestures, and positive energy. I am amazed at the outpouring love I am receiving from old friends, new friends, and people that I don't even know. It really does make a difference.