Aug 17, 2017 Latest post:
Dec 20, 2017
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
I never thought I'd be creating a Caring Bridge site of my own...but here I am...and here is my message to Cancer: We will not simply survive this; we are going to kick your ass!
My doctor (bless her), found a lump during my annual mammogram on June 26th and she recommended an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed 2 lumps which required a biopsy. The biopsy showed invasive ductal cancer in both lumps BUT it's the ER +, PR +, HER2 -, which in layman's terms means, "it's the good cancer"...as if there is such a thing.
Since then, I had Genetic Testing for the BRCA Gene (negative), an MRI (showed 2 areas to look at more closely), a subsequent biopsy on the right breast (negative), and a second ultrasound on a node on the left side (negative), a consult with the radiation oncologist (we're planning not to need her), and a consult with a plastic surgeon (we definitely need him!). I can actually see having woman-sized breasts in my future instead of the breasts of a 12 year old! ;-) The team of doctors, nurses and technicians at I.G.O. , Ximed, the Polster Breast Care Center and Scripps La Jolla have been extraordinary, by the way.
I've learned more about breast cancer in 5-weeks than I care to admi,t but knowledge is power and that's what Lauren and I needed to make our plans. My first surgery for a left mastectomy and lymph node biopsy will be Thursday, August 24th. I'm visualizing clean margins and a boring, run-of-the-mill surgery. (I already informed my doctor that my case is going to be text book!). The next two outpatient reconstruction surgeries will be scheduled at least 3-months later. The need for chemo and/or radiation will be determined after the final pathology on August 24th, but things look good so far.
In true warrior fashion, despite some crying now and then, I am going to deal with breast cancer powerfully. It will have minimal impact on my body and my life! Oh, and I'll have the fastest recovery because after all, I am a bad ass. I even have the Wonder Woman Bad Ass Bitmoji and wear a WW pin on my shirt everyday to prove it. Lauren is being super supportive and standing right beside me, as are our entire bi-coastal family and our friends.
Thankfully, there is a team of compassionate medical professionals, a sisterhood of breast cancer survivors and an extraordinary team of coaches at Landmark, who have been completely willing and available to provide what we have needed so far.
Although the breast cancer news sucks and came as a total surprise, there is plenty to be thankful for: we caught the cancer early (I have annual mammograms since I turned 40), the cancer seems to be in a localized area, I'm healthy, I don't have any other medical issues that could impact the surgery or recovery, I have "good, supple skin" according to the reconstructive surgeon, I can keep my nipple (not in a jar, actually on my breast where it belongs), we have medical insurance, my wife knows people who are taking care of me, one of my best friends will be my nurse after surgery, I just got to spend 5-weeks with my nephew who brought enough joy and activity to our home that I barely focused on cancer, my aunts regularly send me jokes that make me laugh, my mom and mother in law spent a lovely week with us, we have a house with air conditioning that I can recuperate in, we have Netflix and just signed up for HBO!! Oh and we have friends all over the world who will be sending us prayers, karma and blessings!
More good news: since I've been diagnosed and sharing my story, 2 friends PROMISED to schedule their mammos (neither had been to the doctor in 7 years), and two other friends ALREADY scheduled theirs! Ladies, please get your mammograms done each year (or as your doctor recommends), starting at 40. Don't stop your exams just because they hurt (they really don't), are inconvenient (they take 5 minutes!!) or are negative. I had negative mammos for the last 9-years. Men - tell the women in your family to do the same.
Lauren and I are grateful for everything we have and more so for the ENORMOUS support we know is out there. We will post here when we have more to share. In the meantime, we love you, we know you are there for us and we are so blessed to have you in our lives! Oh and we'll see you at our Mary's House Fund Raiser on September 29th! We are ON!
Now go make an appointment for your annual exams! XOXO Jen