Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Chapter - What's the Spanish word for Cancer?

Hola, It has been many months since I sat down and wrote an entry. So much has happened. Doug and I went on our dream vacation - a Mediterranean cruise that sailed from Barcelona to Monaco to Italy back to Spain. I did use my Spanish - un poco - while shopping, but honestly, the store clerks preferred speaking English rather than hear their language get butchered.

In December, I participated in my second Our Lady of Guadalupe feastday, who this blog is dedicated to, by dancing in a complex set of Indian-type dances in an extravagant costume with a feathered headress in and outside St. Boniface Church - starting at 4 am. If you are curious, you MUST see it. Simply amazing. Once my kids show me how to load pictures, you'll see.

And the last of the recap, I started a new job at Purdue in November as the program coordinator for the Center of Economic Education. Small center doing big things. Days are filled with (mostly) interesting projects, and I'm really liking the creativity and independence of the position. It's more hours, and with the steep learning curve, I've slacked off on my writing and Spanish. Looks like I'll have more time on my hands soon....

Instead of fielding a million calls, I'm going to try to use this as a journal of sorts as well as a place for you to go to discover the "gory details." I've always hated talking about or hearing about people's health problems. Some may say it's a lack of compassion, or just a low tolerance for gore. I don't want to turn into my Aunt Ann, who always had a long laundry list of her ailments whenever you asked her how she was. Big mistake! It's not that I don't want to talk to folks, it's just getting a bit repetitive. Call me if you want to go out for a drink; check here if you're curious about cancer. To draw an excerpt from my recent email, here's the scoop: (if you already read it, skip down)

As you may or may not know, I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. If you're family, I'm sure the McLaughlin Grapevine has gotten around to you already. If you live around Lafayette, you probably know as I can't keep secrets, and talking about breasts can be entertaining. First of all, thank you for your prayers and well wishes. I am blessed to have all of you in my life, regardless of my health. I would love to sit down and chat with each and every one of you about all the gorey details, but there simply isn't time. That's why I'm resorting to sending updates electronically. I'm starting up my blog again: again to relate the funnier aspects of cancer, so check there as well.

Doug and I just met with my doctor, Thomas Schmidt, in Indianapolis yesterday. He is doing another test on the breast tissue from my biopsy to tell if I'd be more receptive to chemo or hormone therapy. "It takes a good man to make a hormone," added my boss, Mike. Dr. Schmidt is leaning toward hormone therapy (I'd be thrilled) but it will take a couple weeks to know for sure. Doug remarked about the doctor, "He's a really nice guy," which I thought was a magnaminous statement considering he just witnessed another man giving his wife a breast exam!

Next step is a MRI and chest X-rays which can't occur until I'm in a certain part of my "cycle." Pretty much when the moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, I can get my MRI. That will be the road map for surgery and subsequent treatment. Why lop off a boob only to realize you've got it in your liver... As far as time frames go, we're looking at mid-April for the MRI, then surgery a week or so later. Good news/bad news: Good news - I'll be off for 2-3 weeks; Bad news - I'll have a DRAIN attached to my chest and can't drive anywhere. After that, probable radiation treatments everyday for several weeks. I may need drivers - not sure yet.

BUT, the prognosis thus far is hopeful. I'm not incredibly worried - please don't you worry either. What I do request is that you save the horror stories of those you know with cancer. It's kind of like me just finding out I'm pregnant (I'm not), and hearing about awful deliveries and breech babies and umbilical cord strangulations. You get the idea. I'm just taking this one step at a time. Please also send your prayers my mother's way too. She is having her own struggle with cancer they just discovered that's screwing up her eyesight. Red letter week for the McLaughlins! All for now - I'll keep you posted.

By the way, it's el cáncer.

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