You know what I hate? Well, I hate cancer, but that's a given. I hate that sometimes, no matter how positive my attitude is, a little bit of fear still creeps in. For the most part, my anxiety level and emotional state have been kept on a relatively even keel (maybe thanks to my awesomeness, along with a little help from my wing man Lexapro), but every now and then something about my journey will strike deep.
My latest fear? What if the chemo isn't working? Silly, right? I can feel what it's doing to my healthy cells (thanks to all of these marvelous side effects) so I can just imagine what it's doing to the cancer cells. The main idea of neoadjuvant chemo (chemo before surgery) is to target any rogue cells and prevent the spread of cancer (and maybe hopefully shrink the tumor at the same time). I can feel that the lump is smaller....but I can still feel it. After twelve weeks and six chemo treatments, I don't like feeling it at all! If the chemo drugs can make my hair fall out, steal my taste buds, and make every muscle & bone in my body hurt, why can't they make that sucker disappear?!?!?!?
My last chemo treatment is scheduled for December 5th (celebration day - want to join the party?), and two weeks after that I am scheduled to go back to Dallas for post-chemo/pre-surgery imaging. This means mammogram, ultrasound and MRI to see exactly what the chemo did to my tumor. I am alternately eager for these tests and dreading them. I bet I'll be sneaking one of Hubby's xanax that day!
Realistically, it doesn't matter. My surgery will be the same regardless of whether the tumor even still exists or not. For my peace of mind, though, I'm hoping and praying that it is smaller... much smaller. And those pesky lymph node cancer cells? They'd better be long gone!
People constantly tell me that they are praying for me, praying for the chemo to work, etc. I can honestly say that 99% of the time, the chemo not working doesn't even cross my mind. Maybe I have too much faith in modern medicine, or maybe I'm just living with my head in the sand (although I do know not everyone on this journey has a happy ending), but the thought of enduring months of chemo, major surgery, and weeks of radiation and NOT being completely healthy again isn't even an option. Something is wrong, I'm doing what I have to do to make it right, and then I'll be ready to move on.
Going back to the beginning of this post, though... sometimes I get stuck in the 1% where fear and doubts take over. I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm young and I'm a fighter... but I'm also human. And sometimes I'm afraid.