Eileen Zaun

First post: Jun 26, 2020 Latest post: Jul 24, 2020
We'll start from the beginning of mom's diagnosis. She had an annual mammogram at the beginning of April where they discovered some growth in several spots within her left breast. On April 9th they did a biopsy on those growths; then on April 13th she got the Earth shattering news that she has breast CANCER.

The following week (April 23rd) she underwent numerous scans on to see where the cancer was all at. Waiting on the scan was for sure nerve-wracking, we were praying it didn't spread. On April 30th she finally got word back on her scans: cancer looked to only be in her left breast, however something "lit up" in her upper chest/lower neck region from the PET scan. That meant another PET scan and ultrasounds of that region. May 5th she had a consult with ENT and was told they needed to biopsy those growths as well. May 15th was biopsy day, they took 7 samples from her thyroid. The May 20th results, Thyroid CANCER. Why? Are they related, did the cancer spread? The answer was no, she was diagnosed with 2 cancers completely non-related. What are the odds of that?

May 29th mom undergoes a double mastectomy; and of course they discovered she has cancer in her lmyph nodes too! We were devastated, mom was in and out of it for the next day so dad waited to tell her the news until Saturday evening. During the surgery they removed 10 lymph nodes and three of them had cancer, we later found out they were about the size of a grapes and her whole left breast was full of cancer with the largest tumor being almost the size of two grapes. Mom discharged the hospital on Sunday with 4 JP drains, two on each side. Mom was in excruciating pain, Char was the warden according to mom and took care of her after surgery; she made sure she was getting up, eating, taking her pain meds, and helping her with everything.

The follow weekend mom started hallucinating, having jarbled speech and wasn't making any sense at all. Off to the ER they went on June 8th, they did some more testing; thank the Lord she did NOT have a stroke but had all the symptoms of one. They said she was very dehydrated & gave her a couple liters of fluid and was cleared to go home. It took her several days to get back to herself.

Then, her breasts began to look not ok. June 11th mom had a follow up with the plastic surgeon to see how her incisions were healing 2 weeks after the mastectomy. The doctor said the tissue at the incision was necrotic (dead), but she couldn't jump into surgery right away she wanted to watch and see what they would do. June 18th she went back to the surgeon and she said they looked a little better, so we'll continue to watch them.

Then on June 25th mom & dad went to Bismarck to talk about the plan for when chemotherapy & radiation will begin. Earlier that morning dad said lots of clear bloody fluid was running down her chest from the left breast & lots of puss from her right. Him & I were on the phone and he said I know they are going to do something now!

Mom didn't have an appointment with the plastic surgeon that day but dad asked the cancer doctor to look at mom's breast & that doctor told them you WILL see her today. Fast forward an hour and mom has an appointment with the plast surgeon. Not good! Her incisions had opened and needed attention now; next thing you know mom is scheduled for surgery the next day.

June 26th, at 6am just over 12 hours from her last appointment she goes in for another surgery on her breasts again, they will try to salvage as much as they can and hope this tissue will heal this time. The surgeon was dumbfounded as to why this happened, she said the flaps they sutured together on May 29th were beautifully healthy. So now we wait by our phones for word from dad on how her surgery went. Unfortunately, none of us kids were able to make it to this one 🥺. We are praying for a successful surgery, healing and less pain than the last one. The doctors want mom to start radiation ASAP & she won't be able to start chemotherapy until her breasts heal because chemotherapy will hinder healing. She will hopefully begin radiation within the next two weeks; then it will be 5 days a week for 6 weeks. We'll continue to keep you updated with her journey as she fights the dreaded cancer fight. Her thyroid surgery will be after radiation is completed.


Thank you to everyone for the thoughts & prayers, it truly means the world to us!

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