I cleaned my fireplace today. I kind of cleaned it anyway. I am no chimney sweep, after all. This is not a task I typically consider completing. In fact, I do not think I have ever considered cleaning it. However, yesterday, I cleared the boxes from the hearth and sitting in my usual spot on the couch this morning, I could not keep my eyes off the dusty grate in the fireplace. So, I cleaned it.
Before yesterday and the result of our remodel, all pictures not in photo boxes or rodent-proof containers were stacked on my fireplace hearth instead of the garage. The unorganized piles were an eyesore. BUT as I tirelessly sorted...oh, the memories I found scattered throughout: precious family memories; evidence of current and past friendships; the birth of both of my children; birthday parties; our wedding; college; vacations; and pictures of people who have left us long ago. All day long, the project kept my mind on happier times and off my impending oncology appointment.
Today, Steve and I visited my oncologist, Dr. Sweet. Much to our dismay, he did not give us a definitive answer on if I should pursue radiation therapy. He did say that my outcomes from my chemo/surgery combo are excellent. We also discussed some of the recent published studies that say cancer patients who suffered from my type of cancer have a better survivor rate if they have radiation. Thanks to Kelly I already knew of these studies. And really, based on what Kelly already told me, I knew that Dr. Sweet would refer me to a radiation therapist. That is exactly what he did.
Dr. Deree (my surgeon) says there is nothing left to radiate. Steve and I are not sure where we stand. Part of me does not want to put my body through any more harsh treatments. I feel like maybe I should take it as a sign that I came through chemo and my modified radical mastectomy strong and that maybe this strategy is not the best idea. I still have another mastectomy and reconstruction to tackle.
Another part of me wants to do whatever I possibly can to keep cancer at bay for as long as possible. However, as cancer is a different sort of animal, whose to say anything really keeps it at bay. I know diet and exercise are a given, but who is to say that radiation is going to kill the only abnormal cell in my body? As Steve said, any cell can mutate at any point.
Either way, I am confident that the radiation therapist will be brilliant and Steve and I will make a very informed decision. I bet I even end up having radiation.
As for an update on my healing process from surgery, my scar looks incredible. It is about six inches long and despite looking a little haggard on each end, it barely looks like anything. I am still bandaged where my drains lived for 10 days. I also still am not using my right side for anything strenuous, but I am walking Cooper, our 80-lb golden retriever, for 15 minutes each day. My pain has subsided substantially.
So what now? Until we decide on radiation, I am going to enjoy my days of leisure at home. I am going to enjoy my newly decorated house. I am going to continue going through pictures and am even going to take up scrapbooking again. Most importantly, I am going to make new memories with Steve, my family, the kids and friends. Isn't that what it is all about?