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3/21/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Some friends told me this would be a great way to let others know my updates and progress with cancer. I will try and keep it updated as best I can.
The day before my 55th birthday, December 21, 2016, I went in for a normal routine annual mammogram as I do each year. I thought it would be the same as always, just something I did each year. I am so thankful to God that I do go each year as a preventative screening. Had I said I didn't have time or just didn't go, things could be so much different! I advise all women to faithfully go to get your annual mammogram screening each year as your doctor advises. It is so, so important! YOU MUST GO!! (Ok I'm done preaching. lol)
Now to my story... After my mammogram visit, I received a letter in the mail stating that I had an abnormal result in my right breast. I didn't feel anything or notice anything unusual at all. I called to make a follow-up appointment and went in on 1/4/17 for another mammogram and ultrasound. Both showed something there. So I went in again on 1/9/17 to have a ultrasound needle biopsy preformed. The doctor took about 3 samples of the mass to be sent off for results. My mass was about 9 mm, very small but it was back deep into my breast so there is no way I could have found out myself. Had it not been for the mammogram, I still would not know anything. On Friday, 1/13/17 I got my results--malignant cancer called invasive ductal carcinoma. That is cancer cells that are in the ducts and invasive means they are not contained just in the duct, but has spilled out to the surrounding tissue. This pretty much started the whirlwind of different doctors appointments, tests and lots of information overload. It was a lot to take in. However, Amanda, my daughter has gone with me and continues go to the important appointments and also asks questions when necessary. She has been my rock!
1/20/17 was my really bad day! I had an MRI scheduled and I flunked it. I tried a couple of times to go in that 'tube' but I unfortunately have claustrophobia really bad and I couldn't do it. Up to that point, I hadn't shed one tear, but when I couldn't complete a test, how was I going to do this 'cancer' thing? I pretty much broke down that day and maybe it was for the best because I don't think I had really accepted it yet. So the sweet nurses set up an appointment at another hospital close to my work and their MRI machine was bigger around and not as long of a tube to go into. My doctor also prescribed an anti-anxiety/sedation medicine for me to take (2 pills) for the procedure. It helped! Praise GOD!! So 1/24/17 I passed my MRI! Then I had appointments with my surgeon, my oncologist and my radiologist. My team of doctors are awesome! More ultrasounds and blood work was done. Then it was time for my surgery--lumpectomy with sentinel lymph nodes removed. 2/22/17 was surgery day. Amanda and I had to be there at 6:30 am and my surgery was scheduled for noon. I had more blood drawn, a wire inserted into my breast as a guide wire, IV hook up, nuclear medicine shot into my breast and a blue dye was shot into my breast. It was almost time to go into the operating room and I had to take some pills (which I was thankful because I couldn't eat or drink past 8 pm the night before) and have a shot in my stomach. Then lights out!
When I woke up, I had 2 incisions. One on my breast where the cancer was removed and one under my arm where the lymph nodes were removed. It was all sent off to pathology. I was pretty sore for a week or so but each day I was better. 3/2/17 I saw my surgeon and she was so pleased with everything. She said that she had clean margins around the cancer and got it all (it was 8 mm-I guess it shrunk with the biopsy pieces taken out). The lymph nodes showed no cancer and the wounds were healing nicely. I see her in about 6 months. On 3/9/17 I saw my oncologist and he also was pleased. He basically said the same things that the surgeon said and he started me on an anti-hormone chemotherapy pill that I will need to take for 5 - 10 years. (My breast cancer is estrogen driven.) I see him in about 3 months. Then on 3/10/17 I saw my radiation therapist to have a cat scan, get tatooed and set up for my radiation therapy. I go back on 3/24/17 to get lined up and make sure all is good to go and then on 3/27/17 I start my radiation therapy. I think it is 6 weeks long and I have to go Monday - Friday everyday for about 15 minutes every day for 6 weeks. I get the weekends off. It will be a targeted radiation. No chemo so far and they don't think I will need to either. There is one more test to come back, oncotype test, which will determine how probable the cancer could come back. My oncologist is pretty sure it will also come back good. They just want to cover all the bases to make sure.
There is a chance that I could develop lymphedema from the lymph nodes being taken out. It is swelling in my arm. But then again I may never get it. I always have to be aware though. It is not curable but is treatable with a compression sleeve if needed.
My breast cancer is considered Stage 1. Had I not gotten my mammogram and kept up with it as I do, this could have been a much worse story.
My medical bills are continuing to climb as 'cancer' is an expensive thing to have. (Not that I chose to have it) but none the less, co-pays and co-insurance keeps growing. But I will trust in My God to help me through it.
This is my story so far...but it's not over yet. I believe my Lord has more in store for me in my life. I am just a work in progress and this too shall pass. I give all the thanksgiving, glory and praise to the LORD of my life !!!!!
Love to you all and you can share with others if you want!