I have answers
So I have my answers and an apology. Three times, actually he apologised and I really liked him for it.
Basically, it is very likely that I have secondary breast cancer which has metastasised (spread) to the nodes in the axilla or underarma and the nodes around the thymus gland in the middle of my chest. It is very earlyl still: these cells are less tumours than collections of cells that have been picked up by the PET scan.
The juggernaut is coming and I can see it from a long way away. With normal scans I would probably have been aware of secondary cancer in a year's time when those collections of cells became tumour like. Is early screening a good thing or a bad thing? I can adjust to the idea now, but at the same time am aware of the curse that hangs over my head. I honestly don't know the answer to that question yet.
I will have an ultrasound in the next couple of weeks and if they can aspirate some cells with a needle, then they will test to see if they are hormone positive or not which will help determine treatment... but I can't set too much store by that, as it is so early that they may not be able to distinguish them on a scan yet.
I have been put on Arimidex which is another hormone blocker as well as my injection prostrap for another couple of months when I will be monitored with another PET scan. I cannot reiterate how much this man understood what I am going through. When I looked impatient at the idea of an ultrasound and asked how much use it really was, he completely empathised with the fact that I just want to get on with my life, that I want to forget the cancer morass that my feet are in. But the ultrasound could be important so I shall break my cancer fast for that...
And then a long, drunken lunch in the October sunshine on the banks of the River Thames with my beloved brother and my best friend. I cannot tell you how strange this is, how I feel like it is all happening to someone else, that we talk of life expectancies, plans after I have gone and ways to make the most of the time I have left and I almost want to look round to see whom we are talking of. I just cannot believe it, and then sometimes, occasionally, a dart flies through the defences I have raised and strikes home. We were talking of life expectancy yesterday and for some reason I have thought 5 to 15 years: my brother and my best friend said 3 to 10. That hurt. That really hurt and I can't particularly explain why. I mean, it isn't like there is much difference is there?
I have also had my first scan to judge the density of my bones. Arimidex can be shown to strip the bones of calcium so it needs to be monitored. Strange for the first time I didn't ask about the potential toxicity of the scans as that would be something that would show up in 30 years time and I won't be alive then.
How wierd a thought is that? I live normal life and then the thoughts of mortality, of missing out, of not being here, indeed of not being are woven in with the normal distractions. I won't be here, I won't see my children's children, my mother will probably go after me, and I will be the person of a generation who dies early, the one who is always talked of in hushed voices.
How strange. I feel so bewildered, so angry and lost. No one else can possibly understand. I am being told what to do by everyone I meet, be positive, plan this, plan that, share your time, stop being a recluse, stop hiding, and all I want to do is get my head down, get back to work and be treated as the Minerva of old...