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11/9/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to Denise's 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. My goal for creating this page and journal is to keep my friends and family informed about my treatment and the typical "goings on". The story to follow is a Cliff's Notes version of my cancer journey. Thank you for visiting.
In November of 2009, Denise thought she had beat cancer! Two months earlier she discovered lump in her breast. After a lumpectomy followed by a bilateral mastectomy Denise's oncologist found the cancer to be very early stage and she was declared cancer free. She specifically chose a mastectomy because she is adopted and knew very little of her birth family medical history.
In October 2013 Denise began having back pain and discovered a small lump in her neck. The two seemed to be unrelated. After two months of doctor visits the lump was removed and revealed a rare form of cancer; pleomorphic invasive lobular breast cancer. This type of cancer rarely forms tumors early and further imaging revealed it was stage IV with extensive tumors in her bones. Denise's oncologist theorized that the lobular cancer must have been a "micro-invasion", present yet undetected in 2009.
During the first two and a half years of treatment Denise worked full time. In January 2016 the cancer began to outsmart the treatment. Over the next six months two new treatments failed.
In August, Denise made the difficult decision and took a leave from her job to focus on her health. She currently is waiting to find out if a third targeted treatment is working. From this point forward all treatment is considered palliative, and her primary options for prolonging her life will be chemotherapy.
Denise is divorced and has two beautiful children; Michael a sixth grader and Bridget a 1st grader. She shares equal parenting of her children with their father. Denise's greatest hope is to see Michael and Bridget's important life milestones; going to middle and high school, first loves, graduations, starting a career and family. She is hopeful she can experience some of those tender parenting moments.