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  • Writer's pictureMicheline Lemay

Cautiously Optimistic

A lot has happened since surgery- so much that I can’t even quite wrap my head around it or keep up- but I figured i give it a quick go this morning.

The best news of all was that from surgery we confirmed that there was no lymph node involvement. This was HUGE! Knowing that it hadn’t spread beyond a macroscopic level is a serious, serious relief. I did need to go in for a reexcision which essentially means more margin clearing to make sure there is no cancerous tissue left in the tumor site. That was an adventure to say the least. Being awake through that was quite interesting but I‘ll take it over not needing to go under general anesthesia- and not having my throat hurt 😬. Dr. Harlow was amazing as usual - staying calm and steady and explaining as he went and his nurse Pearl- now she is a pure gem. It went great. Earlier in the morning as I was getting ready for my procedure I put on my usual daily outfit of Stio layers, Maloja bike shorts and darn tough socks. As I slid the socks on I looked down at my feet and thought- heck ya Lemay- you are darn tough- you got this! Insert lightbulb idea. That mantra stayed with me the whole procedure as I looked down at my feet. You got this. When your in such vulnerable positions you need to dig deep. I fall back on my tool box. Mantras, breath work, visualization. I think of those I care for that have already fought this battle. I think of all the others, all the children. It is an intense journey but I know that I’m so glad it’s me and not my children. I turn to gratitude, I turn to love. Tears start streaming down my face. Pearl & Dr. Harlow ask if I’m ok as the cauterizing smoke fills the area. I wipe the tears and I say I’m not sad, I’m not in pain. I’m just so grateful for both of you. I’m so grateful that their are people in this world that dedicate your lives to helping others. To making this world a better place. Thank you. 🙏🏻❤️ They finish up the procedure and stitch me up. I get a little more insight into my chemo regimens and a little finger wave to no mountain biking for two weeks. Of course I pushed the envelope surgery one ~ I forgot how jiggly it is 🤣. Igor sits patiently in the waiting room for me once again ~ or let’s be honest he was pacing the hallway on his phone. But the man has been a rock. I can’t imagine the feeling of helplessness watching someone you love go through this. Again another peeling of that onion- a quick peel. 2 days later we head back up for my oncology visit to discuss the chemo regimens. I was very anxious as this part of the journey is the one I was the most anxious for. The doctor meets with us to discuss the treatment that they feel is best for

my situation. One of the reasons I choose to do my surgery first was to remove lymph nodes and make sure it hasn’t spread. With this information we were able to avoid an additional Chemo (which is quite bad for your heart). With my age it was a big win to eliminate this one. She spoke of the 2 types I would be getting and a quick overview - like am I going to lose my hair- yes, absolutely- deep breath. I will be doing 4 dense doses over 12 weeks- they hit you hard then give you 3 weeks to recover for the next dose. She sends in her nurse to go over more details. Alex comes bouncing in the room with this big binder- I already felt like this experience was more like taking a new college course and this just confirmed it. It was filled with all the different side effects and than all the different pills to take to help keep them at bay. As she was firing through them- she would stop and say- are you ok? Hair loss, bone pain, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, acid reflux, mouth sores, nose sores, headaches, intestinal lining issues, depleted immune system, extreme sun sensitivity, nail loss, metallic taste, blah, blah, blah. Then at the end she says- you probably feel like I just sprayed you with a fire hose… I couldn’t have said it better 🤣. She than asks if I want to go to see the infusion room- in true Lemay fashion I tell her I really hate throw up, if people are throwing up I will freak out. She starts giggling. Don’t worry Michy- people are at there best health for their treatment so no one is throwing up. I’m gonna tell you what Oncology waiting rooms and infusion rooms are tough places to be- seeing so many beautiful souls navigating this disease is tough. I definitely felt the youngest in the room and the most vital but knowing that this is slowly going to change. Igor and I were laughing how we were chemo newbies… try to bring in love and light to dark places Lemay. Love and light.

We thank Alex, we meet with the scheduler to get the first appointment in the books and walk out to the mindful mobile. With each breath and each step through the parking lot it all sinks in. Once I’m in my safe zone I lose it… it starts with tears than full on crying. Shit, I don’t want to do this, shittttt!!!! And a few more obscenities. Igor held my hand. Let me have my moment and reassured me that I was going to be ok. I look out the window and let the tears stream out. It’s important to let it out. As we get past the Williston exit I return to my strength and breath. I got this 💪🏻 I got this. 💪🏻🙏🏻❤️

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