The good thing about having a big, nasty tumor, especially at my age, is that it gets everyone's attention. I am no longer plagued by the waiting periods that characterized the time in between the mammogram, the biopsy and the ultimate diagnosis. For me, waiting is one of the hardest parts, so all this activity is good for my psyche.
Yesterday I had five procedures done at UCLA, one after the other: PET/CT, chest X-Ray, blood work (including a check for the "breast cancer gene BRCA1-BRCA2), EKG, Echocardiogram. All were in the same building (one of the best parts of going to a university setting for treatment).
I had no pre-set appointments. I just walked from one counter to another where, inevitably, there were quite a few people waiting for the same test. I went to each counter with my paperwork, told them who I was, and as soon as I said my name there was a flurry of activity behind the desk, words thrown around like "we've been expecting you", "STAT reading", "same-day results", and "we'll squeeze you in even though we're overbooked and two techs have the flu". It was the least bureaucratic, smoothest process you could imagine. This part was a comfort (although it should probably scare me a bit!). What it tells me is that my case is being taken seriously, and that my surgeon is well-respected and can get things done. I like that. I am on the conveyor belt for a cure and, right now, I don't have to make any more decisions. I believe I have the very best doctors I could have, so I am pleased to lean on them and let them carry me along while I work on educating myself in parallel. Lots to read!
I am back to UCLA today for my final initial test, a bone scan. I'm there again on Monday to meet my Oncologist. Then, I should have a few days of respite to get my ducks in a row and celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. The Monday after that I begin fighting this officially.
Again, a million thanks to all of you who have written or called. I have not been able to respond to everything but please know how much I appreciate each and every contact I have received. I am drawing the strength I need for this journey from your support and prayers. Between each procedure I open up my mail and, to my delight, find notes of encouragement and support. How lucky I am to not be alone in this.