January 20, 2016
It has been difficult to write my posts and read your comments as I wished by merely using a “page” on this my blog I have maintained for many years. Because of this I have established a completely separate blog which is a journal of sorts documenting my travels through this little detour. I have copied all the entries onto the new blog. I was not able to “take over” the comments, so if you’re interested you may scroll to the very bottom here and read dozens of comments.
I hope you will read this blog at the new site, and register as a follower. In that way you will be notified each time I make a new post.
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January 16, 2016 Entry 7
“This can’t be me. Someone else has metastatic breast cancer. Not I.” Through these past days, these words have occasionally penetrated my consciousness.
“I’m so healthy, go years without having a cold or the flu. Certainly no symptoms. No inkling of anything wrong. How can I have cancer?”
But I do. It really is me.
And so is life. We think of teenagers who drive their cars at dangerous speed, and who cavort carelessly about, and knowingly we smile, nod our heads and say, They’re so innocent, so untried. They have such a sense of invincibility, and we clack our jaws . . .but they will learn . . .
. . .now I see, I have been the same. Oh, I didn’t consciously take out the thought and look at it, didn’t handle it and check its ramifications, didn’t label it invincibility, yet now I stand shocked that it is I whose breast cells went askew, and while I was looking the other way, clacking my tongue at young, innocent ones who think they are invulnerable, those invisible cancer cells squirmed around in my body, began replicating, burst out of their boundaries, and traveled over to a couple of lymph nodes.
Me? You’re talking about me?
January 15, 2016 Entry 6
Because of my fascination with words, and because of my recent interest in chemotherapy, since my diagnosis of breast cancer, I found the following Wikipedia paragraph intriguing.
“The word chemotherapy without a modifier usually refers to cancer treatment, but its historical meaning was broader. The term was coined in the early 1900s by Paul Ehrlich as meaning any use of chemicals to treat any disease (chemo- + -therapy), such as the use of antibiotics (antibacterial chemicals). . .This was later followed by sulfonamides (sulfa drugs) and penicillin. In today’s usage, the sense “any treatment of disease with drugs” is often expressed with the word pharmacotherapy.”
January 14, 2016 Entry 5
They give you funny hats in hospitals.
January 13, 2016 Entry 4
A few days after Dr. Ho performed a needle-biopsy in his chambers, I received a call from a clerk saying an appointment had been set for me with a surgeon. My heart sank a bit, but I rallied, and on the 30th of November had my first meeting with Dr. Noel Sudhakar Victor. Dr. Victor is of slight stature, from India, is a wonderful person, and I am incredibly thankful that he was selected as my surgeon. He entered the room where Jerry and I waited and introduced himself.
“I’m Shirley Buxton. This is my husband, Jerry,” I responded. He extended his hand to both of us.
He seated himself before the computer screen, pulled up my records that included the films from my ultrasounds Dr. Ho had produced. I recognized the grey images, waving up and down and across the screen. I stared at what I believed was the depiction of that particular part that Dr. Ho had said offered resistance to his instrument. I was impatient, and finally said, “The biopsy, Dr. Victor. What did the biopsy show?”
Perhaps he was not deliberately delaying, although it seemed that way, for he continued to show something else on the screen. In a bit, though, he turned from the computer, picked up papers, and looked at me. “It does seem, Mrs. Buxton, that you have a form of breast cancer.”
And so I did. An infiltrating ductal carcinoma that had metastasized to my lymph nodes was the official name of the problem. Dr. Victor was the epitome of patience and kindness, explaining thoroughly the report. I was not a candidate for a lumpectomy because of numerous pre-cancerous spots throughout a large section of my breast.
From across the room, I smiled at Jerry. He face had paled and had taken on a grim look. I ached for him.
I was asked then to remove my clothing from the waist up and dress myself in one of those charming hospital-type gowns. At least it wasn’t a paper one; rather that bluish style adorned with strings here and there to tie up!
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Dr. Victor said before he left the room.
I tried to lighten up the situation when the doctor left the room, smiled at Jerry and tried to joke about the changes that might be affecting my anatomy.
After Dr. Victor examined me, he said I needed to have a modified radical mastectomy. Several of my lymph nodes should be removed and examined since the cancer had already spread to at least one of them.
“When?” I asked.
Another time when both the nurse and the doctor were out of the room, Jerry and I discussed whether we should wait until after Christmas for the surgery. We decided against waiting, and before we left the offices the date of December 17th had been set for my surgery.
I had not spoken of any of this to my children, not wanting to unduly alarm them should the tests prove negative. But the tests results were not what we wanted, so now was my time to call each of them. I had to tell them I had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
January 12, 2016 Entry 3
On Tuesdays down at the lodge situated on beautiful Lake Gregory, a delicious luncheon is served to senior citizens at low or no cost. We lived here in Crestline for years before we decided to go one day. Now we go frequently, and over the years have made many new friends. One of them is Pat–well her name is really not Pat, but that is what I’ll call her today, for if she should ever read here, I would not want to embarrass her.
Pat is charming, dresses in a cute, young, tasteful way, and nearly always wears a hat. She has dozens of them–even a special room in her home where she houses them. Today was no exception; she was dressed in black with touches of white, a fine black blazer, black slacks and a charming hat. It was our first trip there since my mastectomy, and when we walked in the door, Pat jumped up, greeted us profusely, and hugged us tightly.
At the conclusion of lunch as Jerry and I were walking toward the exit door, Pat approached us, smiling broadly and speaking sweet, confirming words. “I’ve been praying for you.” She looked directly into my eyes, then continued. “I don’t pray much . . .sad to say, but lately I have been praying for you a lot.”
I was deeply touched, and during the few hours since that encounter have thought much about that scenario, and have been reminded of a truth I know well. Secular people as well as others, watch us Christians. They scrutinize us, perhaps unconsciously (or even consciously) analyze our actions, our motives, our responses to situations. Paul noted this truth as he spoke to the saints in Corinth–chapter 3, verse 2 of I Corinthians.
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.
I’m glad I was reminded today that people are reading me, analyzing my responses, and that because I proclaim my Christianity, my reactions reflect directly on Jesus Christ. I refuse to let this detour deflect my life focus from being stayed on Him, my Savior, my Redeemer. And if you think about it during the next few days, pray a little bit for Pat. She is dear and precious. I would love to lead her to know Jesus.
January 12, 2016 Entry 2
When I received this letter, I didn’t think too much about it, and I wasn’t worried. I had follow-up tests which included another mammogram, and during that same visit, an ultrasound test.
I was prepped, placed on a table with screens so close I could actually see what was going on while a nurse/technician moved a wand across my right breast area. Wavy images pranced across the screen, then finally she laid down the wand and told me she was going to bring in a doctor. He was young, very nice, and introduced himself as Dr. Ho. He replicated the nurse/technician’s maneuvers, and occasionally I heard and saw that she clicked on certain images. The doctor numbed my breast, and when he inserted the needles, I could see them on the screen.
“That one is pushing back,” Dr. Ho said at one point. And I could see the place where the needle was, and indeed it seemed to be resistant to his instruments.
Once I heard the nurse/technician say softly to Dr. Ho, ” I believe that is an infiltration.”
Dr. Ho finished, pushed back his chair, and looked intently at me. “There are three places here that are irregular. We don’t know what they are. Only a biopsy can tell us.” He explained the different modes of biopsy. One was an in-office needle-biopsy.
“Can we do that now?” I asked.
“Yes, we can. Let us get the paperwork prepared, and we will begin.”
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January 11, 2016
Divergent thoughts concerning sharing rather private matters on pubic forums have conflicted me, so that it has taken some time for my decision to create this page on my blog, and within it to be frank about this unexpected detour in my life. Posts here will not be routinely linked to my Facebook, or Instagram sites, my thinking being that for a person to read here, one must deliberately seek out the site, whereas on Facebook and Instagram, anything I post can be seen by any of my “friends” there. And I’m just not sure I want to do that.
I considered saying nothing publicly about this turn of events in my life, but felt in a way I would be dishonest with so many of you who are intertwined in my life; casual friends, dear people who have attended the three churches my husband has pastored, those who have read my books, you who have listened to my speaking in conferences and other venues, and you whom I have never met, but who have followed me on my other social media sites.
So here goes. I thank you for following me, and will appreciate deeply if you take the time to occasionally leave a comment. The greatest thing you can do is to pray. All of us need God, and for us to pray for the other is the most powerful and beautiful gift we can offer.