Next Wednesday I graduate from one stage, the diagnostic stage to the next stage, the treatment stage of my breast cancer.  This stage starts with surgery, unless you count the needle biopsy I had since technically, they removed cancer cells to do it. (See, I’m healthier already.) Other than knowing that I have three appointments with three different physicians the following week, I don’t know what the steps will be after surgery. That’s because the surgery is part treatment and part assessment. And I suspect that a lot of medical treatment is like this, that in treatment more information is gathered and this informs successive treatment decisions. That’s what my job is like as well.

I cope best when I have concrete and active things to do and when I am able to rest and take care of myself. I am running out of these steps before I hit another misty patch of ambiguity. I’ve also finished the big pile of work that I needed to get completed during my last two weeks’ work marathon. Now I’m tired and my to-do list is not entirely clear. I find myself starting to get into “what if?” territory. “What if” I get radiation and I’m one of those people who gets fatigued for years afterwards. I wonder if my hair is long enough to give to Locks of Love if I end up having to get chemotherapy? If it were, then some good could come of cutting it rather than just waiting to lose it all. I think you get the picture.

So this started a couple of days ago and here is my plan to nip it in the bud:

1) I’m going to meditate for 10 minutes today after I finish this blog entry.

2) I’m going to stay off of the computer tonight to help me get a good night’s rest.

3) I am going to list all of the steps of cancer diagnosis and treatment that I have already completed so far. Even though I didn’t start out with a full check list, these are still steps I have gotten through and represent forward progress:

I have completed:three mammograms, 2 ultrasounds, 1 needle biopsy, 1 MRI, 2 blood draws, testing for the BRCA genetic mutations, and two results phone calls. All of this has entailed 6 trips to Swedish in the span of less than 5 weeks. Not too shabby. Lots, lots, more items will be coming to my to do list, but I’ve definitely made progress past square 1.