The Actual Dance is a play that presents the events of the year 2000 from the point of view of the spouse of the woman going through breast cancer. From diagnosis to her life as a survivor, Susan Simon, my wife has endured. An unlikely survivor. The Actual Dance is the story of that experience from my perch. The husband. This the 4th year of my October daily blogs, my focus is a bit more on myself
Day 16 The Switch is On: “Five days later we visit Dr. Happy for the first routine, post-surgery exam. Dr. Happy isn’t looking so happy and is once again reluctant to start. The Chemical and Dye Report is back and the lab says that in fact there is cancer in the lymph nodes. They tested 17 nodes, 10 had evidence of cancer.” The Actual Dance
Yesterday I wrote about the important role that lymph nodes play in the limiting the spread of cancer. I told the story of getting the “good news!” from the surgeon of the lab noting no cancer was visible to them in the lymph tissue during the surgery. He was ecstatic. Susan was relieved. Me? I was skeptical.
Five days later, in what was supposed to be a routine post-surgery exam, the optimism of the initial report and doctors’ enthusiasm, is crushed by the reality of the science. There was extensive cancer in the nodes, meaning that the cancer had traveled through the nodes and spread throughout Susan’s body.
We hear the news. Susan doesn’t flinch. Her determination to survive is unconditional to momentary changes in her statistical prognosis.
For me, this news is a confirmation of what I had already “figured out.” “There isn’t going to be a good outcome here. I never really believed that first report.”
Stat of the Day: While having dense breast can increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer four to five fold, it does NOT increase the risk of death according to a study reported by the National Cancer Institute.
Task of the Day: As long as we are talking about high risk of death – I hate that word – might as well make sure that all the paper work is in place. Do you have a medical directive? Is it up to date and specific? Do you both have power of attorney? Has it expired? And take a look at your will – what, you don’t have one? Fix it.
Resource of the Day: If you are getting up to speed on breast cancer, here is a great resource for information on the role of lymph nodes.
The Actual Dance: Performances Donate