Sunday, December 28, 2008
Positively Negative
I have not shared any news for a while because I have had no news to share. Somehow talking (or writing) about the lack of information left me uneasy as if I would jinx myself if I said too much or verbalized how I felt about all the possible outcomes. The original plan was to wait four weeks after surgery, have a PET scan, complete my staging, and proceed with chemo. Of course plans are made to be broken, or rearranged, or designed with a plan B in mind and everything changed. In the midst of all this I was trying to wrap up the term for two classes I was teaching (yes, I know two at the same time) along with maintaining my regular job, my sanity, and my health. Thank you to everyone who left messages, sent email, or called for updates (or provided great egret information – you have convinced me -- Jan, Erin, Kathy-- it was indeed a sign!).

I was feeling fine after surgery and the post-surgery infection/seroma. In fact, I have not felt better physically in years. I was unable to complete the PET scan due to a largely unexplainable suddeen spike in blood sugar. In order to move forward with completing my staging, we opted to combine chest, abdomen, and pelvic CT scans with a bone scan. The CT scans were already completed and all negative. The only thing standing between me and a stage IV diagnosis was a bone scan. I completed the bone scan and consumed my time focusing on regulating my blood sugar which would prohibit the start of chemo until under control. I spent time walking, daily visits to the gym, walking, Pilates, walking, exercise DVD’s, walking, cleaning up an already relatively clean and sugar free diet, taking regular blood tests, and did I mention walking? It hasn’t been easy, but the numbers are dropping. Did that distract you? It almost distracted me, but the worry over the results of the bone scan kept resurfacing no matter how far I walked or how many calories I did not consume.

Finally on Christmas Eve at 3:00 p.m. as I was about to leave work (Isn’t it nice to know your public servants are there to serve you on Christmas Eve? Some of us at least.) and head over to my make a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner for my sisters when my doctor called with the results. I didn’t quite hear what she said.

“Negative?” I said, questioning her.

“Yes, Jeannette, your bone scan was negative. You are not stage IV.”

“Negative,” I said once more trying to convince myself that I heard it correctly.

Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and shone like a spotlight directly on me while the angels sang, the trumpets sounded, and the creatures of the forest stopped to applaud and cheer. Or at least the screenplay in my head played out that way. Seriously, can’t you picture the hyenas laughing? The meerkats standing tall and looking in my direction? The lions roaring with approval? Yes, in my head the world stood still, but it wasn’t about me, rather, it was about God’s blessings and having many, many prayers answered.

In an otherwise dreary Christmas Eve that had me melancholy and missing my mom on the very first Christmas without her, these results were my very own Christmas miracle . . . or perhaps a message from my mom letting me know she’s still watching over me. Chemo starts soon (or as soon as I can keep my blood sugar regulated). I’ll keep you posted, but for now, join me while I continue to bask in the glory of my Christmas miracle.

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12