Never underestimate the importance of breast self exams and following your instinct. In November 2016, I noticed a change in my nipple and a lump in my left breast. I'd had a normal mam in August, but felt propelled to follow up with my OB/GYN. Further testing and a core biopsy found invasive ductal carcinoma. A pre-op appointment with my surgeon and genetic testing were completed before we headed to Arizona in early December to welcome our newest granddaughter, Madeleine Grace, on December 7th. (Our 4-1/2 yr old granddaughter, Karleigh Sue, lives near Nashville, TN.) The genetic testing did not find any BRCA or other breast cancer gene mutations - what a huge relief! We returned to Naperville on 12/20 and met with my oncologist that day. I had a lumpectomy on 12/27, expecting follow up to be radiation and hormone therapy. My post-op visit on 1/3/17 held some surprises though. The mass was pathologically much larger than indicated by imaging, with invasive ductal carcinoma (idc) and ductal carcinoma in situ (dcis) cells encroaching on one margin. Two of the three lymph nodes removed also contained cancer cells - meaning chemotherapy is now part of the treatment plan. I had a re-excision on Monday, 1/9, to remove the remaining cancer and will follow up again with the surgeon on 1/17. I also have some additional scans and test this week and next, and expect to begin chemo on 1/27. The plan right now is 8 sessions over 16 weeks. Radiation and hormone therapy will begin after chemo is complete.
I feel great! I am so very fortunate I could get so much testing done before our trip to AZ so that I could truly focus on sweet Maddie. Reed and I are blessed and supported by wonderful family and friends - near and far. Our church and pastors have been very present. This is a detour we certainly did not expect following his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment earlier in 2016, but we know we aren't on this journey alone. Thank you for taking the time to read and offer prayers and good thoughts: they are so very much appreciated. Don't worry, 'cause we're not. It's all good!!