We are scheduled to go to California for Spring Break March 18, but I just felt in my bones that I would need chemo and not be able to go. Because of that feeling, I had been thinking about booking a last minute trip to NYC over President’s Day Weekend. Joe couldn’t get out of work so it would just be me and the kids.
I was worried that if we went on the trip to NYC and it turned out I didn’t need chemo, that I would have wasted a lot of money as I would also be able to go to Cali in a few weeks. It all seemed too indulgent and the market having had it’s worst few days in a long while, it all made me uneasy. I’m a saver, not a spender by nature.
Last Wednesday, I decided, you only live once and I booked us flights for Friday morning.
Let me tell you something, we returned from NYC this morning and the long weekend trip was nothing short of magical.
Me and the kids walked more than 22,000 steps each day and hit all of the following in 3.5 days:
- The UWS (our old hood)
- Central Park
- Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston (my previous workplaces)
- The UES
- The MoMa
- The MET
- Times Square (barf, but kids wanted to go)
- The Village
- Little Italy
- The Highline
- The Vessel
- The World Trade Center Memorial
- The One World Observatory
- Walked the Brooklyn Bridge
- Explored Cobble Hill & Dumbo
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Spent time with old friends and fostered relationships with new ones
All of the above was accomplished via the subway or on foot, no cabs. I lived in New York City for 5 years in the early aughts so my Big Apple game is strong.
Our flight was scheduled to leave LaGuardia Monday at 11:30am. As we sat in the terminal around 10:30, we got notification that our flight was delayed until 8:30pm (UM, WHAT?) and no flights were available sooner. My You only live once reflex kicked in and I re-booked us for the next morning giving us another day in NYC. We were lucky enough to have carte blanche access to my sweet, gorgeous, brilliant and generous friend Gina’s home in Brooklyn as her and her family were out of town so we just cabbed it back to BK.
That evening we were wandering The Village in the unseasonably warm temperatures when I got a call from my oncologist. I knew. The Oncotype was here.
The kids knew I was waiting for this call so they instantly stopped and acted cool. We were on Bleecker somewhere between Perry and W. 11th.
I could tell from her voice. I needed chemo. Hell, I already knew based on intuition alone. My Oncotype was 24. In 2016, it was 17. Bigger is not better in this case.
On a standardized chart accounting for no variables, 24 is on the cusp for chemo benefiting a woman my age. 25 is the cut off.
When you read deeper into the report, it is a slam dunk for chemo. You would be hard pressed to find an Oncologist who would not recommend it.
Based on analysis of 21 genes in my tumor sample, it was determined that my “individualized distant recurrence risk at 10 years” is 23%. My ‘Individualized absolute chemotherapy benefit” is 10%. To my understanding, this takes my risk of recurrence from 23% to 13%.
What is also not weighed in the Oncotype results is the fact that this is already a recurrence. That adds to my score. Other things that matter are the grade of my tumor (2), the fact that it was resistant to Tamoxifen and that it was almost 2 inches in diameter. It is a no-brainer.
Once chemo is on your dance card things move fast. In fact, by the time most of you read this, I will be in surgery to have a port placed back in my left arm. Same place it was placed in 2016. The surgeon is hopeful he can get through scar tissue for proper placement but assured me that he could re-route via another vein, artery, I don’t know, some tube, if necessary.
I will not be joining my family on spring break to California. I will instead be here likely recovering from my first round of AC chemo.
Thank God, Buddha, Andy Cohen, whomever you pray to that we took the trip to New York. I was carefree, at ease, without a headache for the first time in weeks. My kids and I learned so much about each other, ourselves and the world.
My gut told me to live right now. My gut was right.
UPDATE! Port placement surgery went well. I am now, in fact, a cyborg