LONG STORY: I found it myself. Just a little soreness against my rib cage, underneath my left breast. Felt like my workout bra chafing or like I bumped myself on a chair. Called for a mammogram since it had been 2 years. "Looks fine" but should probably do a needle biopsy. Needle biopsy "inconclusive" due to too many necrosis (dead) cells present. That made me chuckle. Another week before I would get in for an MRI, just to make sure they don't see it elsewhere before going in for surgery. MRI is great, no other signs of funny business. Next stop, lumpectomy. My Surgeon is a fellow Moragan, Dr. Kwan- Feinburg. I cannot say enough good things about this woman, she's been amazing. On surgery day, Brian and I are chilling (literally, it's like an ice box) in the pre-op room and in walks anesthesiologist Dr. Tom Yu. Yay! Tom is a friend and also a fellow Moragan, So I'm feeling as happy as allowed. Surgery goes well. BEST. ANESTHESIA. EVER. Ice and codon keep me comfy for a few days . But the worst part of this whole journey, thus far, is waiting the excruciatingly long period of 4-5 days for the result. My birthday comes and goes, a couple of really fun events are attended in a total fog. Finally, on Monday, September 18th, my surgeon called to break the news that I have breast cancer. The good news is that she got it all out with clean margins. The bad news is that it's cancer. An invasive ductal carcinoma, triple -negative, type. Triple negative means that hormone therapies won't work and our path is pretty clear - chemo / radiation / and a touch more chemo. Before delving into chemo we are told we first need to biopsy lymph nodes and run genetic (BRACA) tests. The lymph node biopsy is another surgery that took place on our 18th wedding anniversary - so romantic. Sadly, no Tom this time. As they biopsied the lymph nodes, they installad my chemo port. Double ouch! The chemo port, which allows easy access for the chemo treatments, hurt like a son-of-a-b@#ch for a week, until it just didn't. The lymph nodes came back negative for cancer and the genetic testing came back free of markers for breast or ovarian cancers. Good news all around!
SHORT STORY: We were finally able to confirm STAGE 1 BC and no more surgeries. Cleared to start chemo.
This Friday the 13th will be my first chemotherapy treatment in Berkeley. Brian will be out of town with Grant for waterpolo (I insisted they go) and my friend and fellow cancer warrior - Sandra Preto- will hang with me. I'm feeling super healthy just a few days out and I'm doing what I can to eat right and prepare for the treatments.
MY FAMILY IS GREAT: Olivia (11) is my rock and care taker. She's been beyond helpful and supportive. After surgeries she checked on my wounds and gently helped me get dressed with a maturity and caring that is way above her age. Great kid she is. Grant (13) & Mason (16) have been tip-top in waiting on me, too. Making sure I don't lift heavy things, offering to refill ice bags and wine glasses, and generally being attentive young men. Their father (or fathers, they haven't been genetically tested) have trained them well. Brian, of course, is always at the ready; cooking dinners, accompanying me to surgeries and appointments, chipping in everywhere there's need. He tries so hard to make my Oncologist laugh- it's kinda sad to watch - but I do think she's close to cracking.
My mom and dad, now both retired, check on me regularly, as well as my brother & his wife. Brian's parents are coming out for a nice long visit in November and well have some good fun with both sides of the family.
MY FRIENDS ARE THE BEST: Friends are planning and plotting on how to keep my family fed and cared for and I'm overwhelmed with support. Anne Naffzigger, Jenny Clare, Lucy Dendinger, Liz Daugherty, Katy Keough, Ellen Gunderson, Kat Panos, Jen McKenzie, Leah Saroni, Lana Fitzpatrick, Sandy Preto and many many others are taking good care and you could get in touch with one of them if you want to help drop a meal by or whatever. Thank you Maura Richards for the best bone broth!
We look forward to upcoming birthday celebrations with special friends, concerts, beer fests, Halloween celebrations, and a special Thanksgiving Dinner with both sets of our parents. Life marches on!