I saw Dr. Cross again today. It's a good thing I like the man, as it seems we'll be seeing each other a lot more.
I found a lump under my left armpit (surgery side) over the weekend, so they scheduled me to come in asap to check it out. I was praying it was nothing. Seems I was (most likely) wrong. It's something.
He did an ultrasound and took several core needle biopsy samples. I am going to be sore and bruised when the numbness wears off. I guess it's a good thing that area still doesn't have a lot of feeling.
We won't know for absolute until the pathology report comes back, but he is pretty sure it's a malignancy. It's a lymph node gone crazy. Damn cancer. With this I guess I move from stage II to stage III.
One of the few bits of good news that I've had lately is that this cancer had not spread to the nodes. That single bit of knowledge kept me (mostly) calm, and gave me confidence. Hearing this news today has taken a lot of that away. What next? I'd really like one bit of good news to stick. Or at least the bad news to quit coming.
To be fair, I did receive one bit of good news today. Following the biopsy, while I was getting bandaged and dressed, Dr. Cross called the labs that did the CT scans and bone scan. He wanted to know what they saw where this lump is concerned. He had them read the scans right then and there.
The bone scan looked good (good - a word I sure would like to hear more of), and the chest CT was clear, other than the armpit node. No word yet on the abdominal scan. I'll get that news on Tuesday.
He is scheduling me for surgery in one week (Dec 23). This will be an outpatient procedure in which he will remove the node and I'll go home and recover. I'll be taking a lovely drain with me. Oh goody. Merry Christmas to me. (At least I am an expert on drain care and maintenance.)
Right now none of this is written in stone. I am still praying for a miracle and for this node, that "looks malignant", to be just a weird benign fluke. But, if my previous experience along this line is any indicator, I don't have a good feeling about this.
This is really getting old, but I know it's my new reality, and I am still trying to come to grips with it. (Anyone in NWA know a good counselor?)
Thanks to so many of you for your prayers, your sweet comments (here, on Facebook, and in person), your emails, your cards, your gifts, your visits, your singing (you know who you are - Stars), your hugs (just now answered the door to a lovely friend here to deliver a hug), and your wonderful love and friendship. You make the journey, however traumatic, much more bearable. There's no way I could do this alone.