Ann Marie Dages

First post: Jan 20, 2019 Latest post: Jul 16, 2019
For those that are not aware, my family received upsetting news after I found a lump in my breast in April 2018 at 39 years old. I went to visit the G.O.A.T. - the late Dr. James Guerrieri. Dr. G sent me off for a mammogram and ultrasound which then led to a tumor biopsy. Unfortunatey, I was given the news that I had Breast cancer. After further testing, it was identified as invasive Ductal Carcininoma, ER+, PR+ and Her2-.Early on, we were told it was non aggressive and early stage by the Lake Health Oncologist. I had options for surgery and treatment. I took the extra time to get a second opinion with University Hospitals. I was given the same info and treatment plan, and looking to schedule a double mastectomy with reconstruction on July 3, 2018.
At that time, my oldest son Kevin graduated from Kirtland HS and was getting ready to begin his journey to become a US Marine. We had an amazing Grad party and planned to celebrate further with a family trip to the Bahamas before he left for boot camp. Boot camp was fast approaching (August 13, 2018.) Our highly anticipated vacation was scheduled for June 7th-12th. We were so excited!
During all the chaos, i called my doctor at University and told him of my plans for the mastectomy. At that point I could tell that he and I were not on the same page. I made plans to go to the Cleveland Clinic for yet another opinion. My appointment was scheduled for June 1, 2018. With the vacation fast approaching, I continued to get mixed messages from my body. I had pain in my hip, and back and even my leg. At one point I told Kevin I felt like someone had a voo do doll on me.On Thursday May 31, I left work to take myself to the ER, I was in serious pain which took my breath away. I decided to go to Hillcrest Hospital which is a local branch of the Cleveland Clinic. After my assessment, they were working me up for flank pain and were checking for kidney stone protocol. I was taken back for a CT of the abdomen and pelvis. With my husband and sister Cherie by my side, we were given news that we truly were not expecting to hear. The cancer had metastasized to my bones. The images showed spots in my spine, hip, and pelvis. The staff at Hillcrest contacted the Oncologist I had not even met yet to tell her of their findings. Life as we knew it had changed. We met with the staff at the Clinic, scheduled further tests such as a bone biopsy for after our vacation. Our vacation was awesome. We enjoyed much needed family time together despite all the unknown we were going though.
Paradise came and went very quickly and it was back to the matter at hand. My bone biopsy was scheduled and my BFF April took me for the dreaded appointment. It was an outpatient appointment and we came, they drilled and we left. It was not as painful as my mind anticipated so that was a bonus. The results were just as they expected from the imaging, I had breast cancer cells in my bones. The beast spread and was now classified as stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer.
The time had come to say farewell to Kevin Jr, as he went off to boot camp. It was one of the hardest things this mother had felt with so far. I was certainly proud of my son, but did not want to say goodbye. I decided after Kevin left I would do my own boot camp. After talking to many great friends from the Kirtland community, I met up with an awesome holistic health coach Theresa DiNallo . She armed me with all the resources and to shift my diet to an organic, plant based diet. I cut sugar, gluten, dairy, meat and alcohol. I started with many supplements, learned the importance of jucing and so much more! Theresa opened my eyes to the importance of health, reducing stress and so much more.  I also started hot yoga by recommendation of another friend Fran in the wonderful community of Kirtland. Between my lifestyle changes, medicine from the CCF, and the addition of yoga at Flow Yoga Studios, I now felt the best I had in 20 years. I got the weight off I could never lose and the pain was gone. I also grew personally during this experience. My thought process changed. Everything changed!

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