Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I Cleaned My Fire Place Today

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?


  1. Thanks for your update, Marsi, keep on keeping on!

  2. Marsi:

    I'm delighted to hear that you are doing so well. You are amazing!
    Compared with what you have already been through, radiation is a snap! I, too, hope that you can avoid it, but if you can' means afternoon naps daily (yes, you will want them, even from the 1st day) and pampering your skin and a couple of tiny tattoos (I asked if they could make mine butterflies, but they said no, that's for later!)and before you know it, you're done.
    You're still in my prayers, Marsi.