Transitioning from surrealism to reality

Moonchild Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I spent all day on Wednesday downtown at the hospital, signing forms, getting three hours of pre-admission testing, plus a chest x-ray, and then three hours of the PET/CT scan. Almost passed out during the prep for the PET, because of the glucose injection. I hate needles. I hadn’t eaten since 3:00 PM the previous day, and developed the worst headache over the course of the day. No Excedrin for me until after the second surgery. I had an MRI scheduled for Friday, and was a little freaked out about the whole process, especially because of the IV. I hate needles, I hate thinking about it.

My first surgery is this coming Monday, for the lumpectomy. The second surgery, for the lymph nodes, is on Tuesday, January 30. I guess at that point I will know if I need chemo or not, though I suppose the PET results will provide a good assessment of whether the cancer has metastasized. This stage of not knowing things is really tough. I am relying heavily on Ambien to get me to sleep each night; I just can’t turn off my brain.

The MRI went better than I expected; the anticipation was worse than the MRI itself. But what did happen was that I discovered that I moved from my sense of surrealism to reality, and it hit me hard. I was so focused on the details of what I had to do this week (interview/pre-admission testing/PET scan/second interview/MRI) that I didn’t realize what it all meant. So today, when I was trying to do deep relaxing breaths during the MRI, and trying to think only about something happy, I found that I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a fleeting second, and my mind kept jumping to the reality of what I was doing, and what it meant. It suddenly felt real, this horror. I tend to be pretty optimistic, most of the time, even unrealistic, and probably just don’t deal with some of the major things which should be dealt with, but this is just something I can’t ignore anymore. I guess it is a sense of denial. I haven’t allowed myself to think about the very worst-case scenarios, as she mentioned; I just can't even go there yet, and hopefully won’t have to. It's just the thought of it all. Just having to write on all these intake forms under diagnosis and/or diseases: “Breast cancer.”

I was on the verge of tears, and as soon as I got into my car to drive home, I just broke down. I called my parents and just sobbed, which of course upset them, because they couldn’t do anything at a distance to comfort me. I got home and just broke down again with my husband (which probably wasn’t a bad thing, in a twisted way, because it allowed him to really see what I was going through for the first time; he wasn’t with me with my parents and sister when I first got the news, so he missed the immediate hysterics.)

I’m trying to focus on the lumpectomy as a positive thing: just getting rid of the tumor. This will be my fourth lumpectomy so I know what to expect, on the face of it. But this is different, I have to acknowledge that. The other times, it was a case of waiting to hear if it was benign or not, with the understanding that it most likely wasn’t serious, based on the needle biopsies which preceded each lumpectomy. I just realize that I will be hearing news from my surgeon on Monday, in all likelihood, based not only on the results of the lumpectomy, but also based on the PET and MRI.

But I am now up at this ridiculous hour, even having taken an Ambien, because I just discovered that I have swollen glands around my collarbone, on the same side as my tumor. Very freaked out, here, despite the fact that the doctor felt that my lymph nodes were not effected.

This is too much reality.



  • Susan956
    Susan956 Member Posts: 510
    I hope that you managed to slip off to sleep sometime late this morning. I think everyone here can tell you that the waiting game is the hardest part of this trip. It does ugly things to our brain. So my way of dealing with it was not to sit still while I was in the waiting game. My house was sparkling prior to the results... every closet was cleaned.. every drawer.... (and this for a woman who normally has a little bit of a messy house)... So try to stay busy... and if at all possible think of the Serenity Prayer...

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Take Care.... God Bless....

  • LesleyH
    LesleyH Member Posts: 370
    I really hope you got some sleep. Lack of sleep makes it seem a lot worse. In the days after my diagnosis, I watched a lot of late-night movies.

    Those pre-tests are all so scary. My oncologist always reminded me that no matter what symptom you have or what the tests show, it's not cancer until a biopsy shows it's cancer. There are too many other more likely reasons for things not seeming normal. I know that is little help when you are in a spin.

    I think you are wonderful to have already grasped the reality of the situation. I kept thinking that someone would tell me it was all a mistake. That I really did not have cancer. I kept thinking that even through chemo!

    I truly understand your fear. Please get some exercise and some sleep. I am sending my strongest powers for the best possible result for you!


  • lovonna
    lovonna Member Posts: 78
    Oh the waiting game, it has to be by far the toughest part. As long as I was moving forward in my treatment, I felt as if something was getting accomplished to fight the beast. When I was waiting I was a basket case! Each of us has to find our own way to deal with the waiting. Getting on this board and typing is a great way! I am sure that at one time or another we have all played the waiting game and truly understand what you are dealing with.

    Reading, watching television, cooking, cleaning, reading this board, playing with my dogs, ANYTHING to help get my mind off of it helped.

    Please know you are in my prayers and keep us posted.

    Hugs, LoVonna
  • deb2001
    deb2001 Member Posts: 23
    How are you and how have things worked out for you?