buzz kill

March 14, 2007 § 25 Comments

My last chemo treatment should have been a celebration. Instead it was a punch in the gut with a second bowl of punch thrown over my head, ice cubes, beverage, ladle and all.

I had been in for imaging the week before; MRI and Cat scans. Routine tests, I predicted the results; a shrunken tumor and everything else in order. I was ready for phase two. Take my breast, radiate me, reconstruct me in six months time and set me free to share the gospel of breast cancer.

I had a plan.

Results from my MRI were pretty straight ahead. My right breast remained unremarkable at least to the folks who read the MRI. They’re wrong of course. My right breast is spectacular but that’s another website.

As for my left breast, the primary tumor had shrunk considerably. My mother said, if you look for trouble you’ll find it, and that’s what an MRI does. At 12 o’clock on the left breast there was a questionable mass but it doesn’t matter to me. I’m having a mastectomy. All those lumps and questionable bumpy masses can congeal in the bowels of pathology. Let them reveal their secrets to science and soon to be scientists. I’ll get use to an AA cup all over again, and contemplate my new girls down the road.


I met with my oncologist. He managed to squeeze in a series of morning appointments before boarding a plane to Switzerland. Marty and I had glanced at my lab results the night before. They were posted online; we couldn’t resist the sneak peek.

The MRI was as expected, but the Cat scan report was all wrong.

suspicious sclerotic foci within the lower thoracic spine as well as within the pelvis and right proximal femur, suggestive of progressive metastatic disease.

Was that my report? My primary tumor had shrunk down to nothing. How the hell could cancer show up in my bones four months later swimming upstream in a sea of toxic waste?

We looked to Dr Come for his usual dry but level headed mix of wisdom and insight.

“Talk to Dr Houlihan in my absence. If the cancer has spread, there may be no need for the mastectomy”

He was boarding a plane, but I was just run over by the cargo hold.

I do not have metastatic disease.

The reader could have been aggressive. Maybe it’s osteoporosis. What the hell is vague sclerosis. I do not have metastatic disease.

Marty doesn’t believe it. My Angel Oncologist in Virginia doesn’t believe it. I don’t believe it, but my doctors at the BIDMC act like it’s entirely possible. That’s just preposterous.

I’m requesting more test. I want definitive results. “Vague sclerosis” sounds like guess work. I need facts. Black and white. Bone biopsies. Something I can see under a microscope.

I have a very different plan and a party I am planning.

xoxo Momo


§ 25 Responses to buzz kill

  • Edie Read says:

    taking the punch with you. Fighting back at it with you. angels are spot on.


  • Dd says:

    A blow to the gut for sure.

    We will get through this too.
    Your postive thinking has gotten you this far, it just needs to work a little longer and harder.

    I never thought I’d love the thought of osteoporosis before.


  • Kelly says:

    Wow. Sometimes life just hits ya like a ton of bricks. Keep your head up, this too shall pass.


  • LB says:

    I picture you steamrolling over this vagueness, getting the facts–beautiful facts–and fighting with all your might. We’ve got your back. We are behind you with love stronger than steel.

  • Nina Schwarzschild says:

    I don’t believe it.Sending lots of love to you.

  • Debi says:

    Oh, Momo. Do not believe it and fight like the devil in a red dress. Sending you strength and courage to face this down. It’s going to be one hell of a party, that’s for sure!

  • Liz Hill says:

    …”suggestive of”, not conclusive of. You’ll get the facts, and keep that party plan prominently displayed in your psyche.

    Sending good juju to you.

    XO Lizzy

  • Gail says:

    No news is good news?….. I hate vague reports. It’s just wrong. They’re wrong. We are all praying for definative good news. God will continue to bless you. Just keep moving forward.

    You have the spirit of an ancient female warrior who has fought demons. Scared, who’s scared? Even the bravest are scared, they do it anyway.

    Right there by your side. We’re all lined up like little soldiers. We got your back, front, whatever.

    BTW- who the f— is this dr. to give you iffy bad news, anyway? Doesn’t he know we thrive on positive messages? Why undermine your strength when its needed most? I totally don’t like him. Blech.

    Party on!

  • Joanne says:

    Know that me and lbb are thinking about you and Frannie all the time…our thoughts and love are with you.

    love, Joanne

  • Karen says:

    I’m sticking with your plan, Mo, and I’m coming to the party.
    Thinking of you – only positive thoughts.

  • Marty says:

    I’m with you a 1000%. It will either be a nasty scare corrected by definitive results (my bet), or you’ll get to be a medical miracle. Those are the only options. Keep fighting and keep the wit and humor going.

    Love, Marty

  • Lori says:

    Your spirit is indominable and I am guessing your body is too. I am sending good karma, angel prayers and major bruchas for good news. Keep fighting sweetie, see you at the party. Love, Lori

  • Cathy Hurst says:

    What kind of a message is that from your doctor? Suspicious? Suggestive? Possibly no need for mastectomy?

    I am definitely with the “don’t panic until you get real data” school, but I do note that a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology showed that removing the tumor even when breast cancer has metastasized improves survival.

    Keep breathing, keep fighting, keep writing….

  • Karen VS says:

    You are one amazing lady not singing the blues. You’ll get to the bottom of those proposterous notions and soon we will all sing “let’s get the party started”!

    Feel all the good vibes heading your way and you’ll dance through this as you have your entire life.


  • Rebecca says:

    Well. That’s a big blow. Hang in cutie.


  • paula says:

    ok – we are with you 200% –
    and wait for definitive results.
    love you. xoxoxo

  • Karen Waer says:

    Stupid stupid vague report. LOVE YOU Karen

  • Susan says:

    Rick and I are with you many 1000 percent. I agree wtih Marty that this lousy kick in the gut will either be corrected by repeated tests or you’ll get to be one hell of a major medical miracle. I myself had a scary (and wrong) CAT scan last April that sent me flying to the BI only later to be corrected by a series of other tests. So these reports can be full of errors.

    Keep fighting and know that there are many of us fighting with you and appreciating your wit, your love and your drive. Love to you and let us know what we can do.

  • ozonetv says:

    momo mojo too strong…i’m out of here.

    the cancer

  • susie norris says:

    You may not remember me from the Video One scheduling board days but I remember you and I’m very moved by your bravery & humor. Wynelle told me you had the best wigs & scarves in the cancer business and I am not surprised!! I wish you everything you need on your illogical journey. I hope it’s not too strange to hear from an old stranger, but your strength & insight makes the path a little easier for the rest of us. Keep writing! and Wynelle is threatening a reunion for this summer and we’ll expect to see you there.

    All the best,
    Susie Norris
    former asst. operations manager w/Lisanne as my boss(!)

    now mom of 3 in California/Massachusetts

  • Judith Wohl says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    I’m a friend of your sister, Gail. We met at her house at least once. I’m a breast cancer survivor. I had Stage III ER+, had a lumpectomy, dose dense chemo (AC +Taxol)and daily (even extra) radiation. It was a living hell. That all ended 3 years ago. I’ve researched and learned a lot.
    What I would like to convey to you is that the western medical industry does not have all the answers, nor do they ask the right questions. The issue is: What in your body is out of balance which is allowing cancer to survive there? Whatever the stage of the cancer, I, II, II, or IV, it doesn’t matter. You can eliminate it, and I invite you to do so. The key? Macrobiotics. I know it sounds bland and daunting, but it isn’t. It is a way of eating that it delicious and frankly quite easy, once you get use to changing the way you do things. I just returned from a macrobiotic cruise in the Caribbean, and I learned even more. I am always learning and the more I know, the more I realize that only I can keep myself free of disease. I have many friends now who have eliminated very advanced cancers with macrobiotics and lifestyle changes. Some of them were on their deathbed and 20 years later now are glowing with health. The propaganda of the medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies is overwhelming. But they know nothing about nutrition. And food can make you well, now and for the rest of your life. If you would like to discuss this, please don’t hesitate to contact me. In solidarity and peace, Judy
    P.S. Breast cancer loves sugar. It’s like fertilizer for the cancer cells.

  • Lynda Brown says:

    Sometimes rational thought is so soothing. Thank you Marty, for the facts of the matter. I trust in you, M, to wade through and digest and deal. This is what you do. Science and spirit, a great combination. Lynda

  • Rick Beyer says:

    Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best!!!


  • Patryce says:

    Dear Marilyn,
    I’m with Marty on this one. And from my own personal experience last year, very serious CAT scan results on my lung…turned out to be nothing. Keep up your phenomenal spirit and remember, “You’re A Winner”!
    Thoughts and prayers are with you always.
    Love, Patryce

  • Marilyn,

    Mark called and told me about you and gave me your blog address.

    Cancer is scarey — there’s no doubt about that. And it’s serious. It changes our life forever. When we got it, we need a lot of heroes.

    To give you a little encouragement, let me tell you that I remember well when the surgeon told me I had Stage IV Colon cancer and it had spread to both lobes of my liver and they gave me a very bleak prognosis — a very short one at that. None of the doctors believed that I could survive.

    The point is, they don’t know and they do us no favor by telling us to get our affairs in order.

    That was ten years ago for me.

    We don’t fall off a bicycle unless we stop pedalling — so just keep on riding.


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