Is 3 a Magic Number?
The Number 3 seemed to appear everywhere throughout the week of my 3rd to last chemo. Normally I wouldn't have noticed so many 3's but it was very apparent by the end of my week. Why is this important enough to write about...well because I learned a lot more about the next steps in my journey and after many fluctuating emotions things made more sense.
The week of my 3rd to last chemo I had 3 additional doctor appointments. 1) An Appointment with a new dermatologist, 2) Follow Up with Dr. Camal, My breast surgeon, and 3) My first appointment to meet the radiologist.
Dermatologist Appointment: I went to this appointment on my own at the ass crack of dawn. 7:15am on a Tuesday! I made this appointment to check the mole on my scalp and any other spots on my body for skin cancer. The reason I did this now was because my oncologist, Dr, Horkheimer asked me if the spot on my scalp was new. To which I replied "How would I know? I have never shaved my head before! The last time I was bald I was an infant so I have zero clue." So he advised me to get it checked just in case and his assistant Megan agreed it would be a good idea to get it checked. So I made an appointment and the dermatologist did remove it along with a spot on my back to get it checked. Why not, just get everything checked while I'm at it. I was sad to see it go because I liked that my son and I had matching moles but I would prefer no cancer instead.
Dr Camal, Breast Surgeon Follow Up: Doug came with me to this appointment. I hadn't seen Dr. Camal since before I started chemo, so it has been awhile. Today was just a follow up to see how I'm healing and to make sure Im doing ok. All seems to be healing correctly, I have a slight swelling on the cancer side in my arm which I have noticed lately. My range of motion is pretty good. I will probably need some Physical Therapy after radiation in order to help with the lymphedema. I was concerned about the amount of weight gain I have had but Dr. Camal said that she prefers to see weight gain over weight loss when going through chemo. Looking and feeling like Mashed Potatoes is not my favorite but at least I know its not concerning. We talked for a good amount of time and had wonderful appointment. Once I get my radiation schedule I will come back to see her a month after my last treatment.
Dr. Patel, Radiologist on Wednesday: So this was the appointment I have been waiting for since I new I was going to have to have radiation. This would be the day I would find out how much radiation I will need and when It will start. In my head I assumed I would have 5 weeks of radiation and was hoping that I could start by mid august..... yeah not so much I would learn.
When going to appointments like this I need to have someone with me. Between Chemo Brain and the lack of focus is causes, it's really hard for me to absorb what the doctors are saying. I find that I zone out and can't completely comprehend or hear what is being said. So I brought my friend Janelle with me. She was exactly who I needed. She came with a list of questions and took notes the whole time, which helped me so much. Since what Dr. Patel was saying was not what I was hoping.
It turns out I will need 33 sessions of radiation! That is 5 days a week for 6 1/2 weeks. This won't start until after Labor Day. Yes I know to doesn't sound like so much more but every week makes the end of this farther away. I was defeated by this news.
As I said having Janelle there was key since she asked the questions I wouldn't have even thought of. Like what is my recurrence rate if I don't do radiation. Which Dr. Patel said without radiation there is a 20-30% chance the cancer could come back, but with radiation it reduces my rate to less than 10%. And that is the goal to lower my chance of cancer coming back. So leaving there I was sad but at least I had a timeframe.
Now here is where things got weird a few days after my 3rd to last round of chemo, and many disappointed tears, my MyChart was updated with the notes from my radiologist appointment. I read over the notes from Dr. Patel. This was when I noticed something I had not noticed before. My pathology report from after my double mastectomy. Most of what was on it I have already known but what caught my eye was the words: STAGE 3A. This threw me for a loop because the whole time I have thought I was at stage 2 since that was my diagnosis in the beginning, it never occurred to me that it could have changed after my surgery when they tested everything they removed including the 14 lymph nodes (7 positive for cancer). I went over all my treatments and next steps with my doctors but never realized that my stage had advanced. I don't know if it wasn't mentioned or I just didn't hear it. Again why its so important to have others with you at appointments.
So my week of 3's were......
3rd to last Chemo
33 weeks of Radiation conversation
and STAGE 3 cancer realization.
So officially I have Stage 3A (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma grade II with DCIS grade II Breast Cancer, ER/PR+ Her2-)
I noticed that the number 3 was prevalent in my week on Sunday night and started to write this blog but fell asleep and woke up at....drumroll and Im not even joking.... 3:33AM! WHAT?? Honestly what are the odds?
So I had to see if there could be a meaning to it. Here is what I learned:
According to Pythagoras (Greek Philosopher) the number 3 was considered as the perfect number, the number of harmony, wisdom and understanding.
In astrology, the number 3 is linked to Jupiter, the planet of joy, abundance, success, good fortune, and wisdom
Spiritually: 3 is an angel number and seeing it indicates that the mind, body and spirit are in perfect harmony. A new chapter is on the horizon and your guardian angels want you to embrace it.
In Chinese culture 3 is considered a good number because it sounds like the word that means "to live" or "life"
So is 3 a MAGIC Number? I don't know.
Whether you believe in symbols or not, I am taking the Number 3 and all the positive meaning to heart. Learning that I was at Stage 3 makes the 33 rounds of radiation easier to take. It makes more sense to me and I have made peace with the fact that my journey will be longer than I expected.