Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I've created it to keep friends and family updated about my journey.
Please visit often to read my latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write me a note in the guestbook.
Nov. 30, 2009: Routine annual visit to Dr. Armas, my oncologist. He felt a big lump under my armpit. We both thought that maybe it was scar tissue or possibly something having to do with my implant. However....... Dec. 4, 2009: Pet CT, an imaging which helps the Dr. determine if furthur tests are needed. When there are areas that light up on the image, it is considered "suspicious" and requires additional attention. Dec. 7, 2009: Back to Dr. Armas to discuss Pet CT results. He expressed concern. He felt that the lit areas are indeed suspicious, neither of which are scar tissue or implant related. He discussed options, surgery for example. I implied that wasn't an option for me. I did not want to go through any more surgeries. He suggested that I see a surgeon to further discuss options. Dec. 8, 2009: Paul and I visited with the surgeon. He told us about potential risks of the surgery and we said good bye. Neither one of us were particularly impressed with this fella. Dec. 14. 2009: We met with Dr. Armas again. My cancer markers were high and he was very clear that surgery needed to be done. He was as clear about having the surgery as I was clear that there wasn't going to be any surgery. Odd, I know, for me to be stuborn. Dr. Armas suggested that we get another opinion. His preference was either Sloane Kettering in NY or the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Dec. 20, 2009: Paul and I headed up to Jacksonville for our appointment with another oncologist. Dec. 21, 2009: We met with Dr. Patel. A young, very thourough, incredibly intelligent woman. Unfortunately for me and my stance on this predicament, she, too, was very clear that this is indeed a serious situation and it needs to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible. Paul and I drove away feeling numb, but had the next 5 hours to discuss the road that now lies ahead of us. The following is the email that I sent out to our family and friends that evening:
My dear friends, Paul & I have just returned home from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. I have been diagnosed with cancer in my lymph nodes. They are not sure if it is something that spread or if it is new. Regardless, I will be undergoing a course of treatment shortly that includes, surgery, chemo and radiation. We will learn more on Wednesday, when we go back to Mayo to meet with a surgeon and a radiation oncologist. In the meantime, forgive me for not calling each of you personally, but I am exhausted. I will update you as we learn more. I know your thoughts and prayers are with us.
Our journey begins..............
Dec. 23, 2009: We left our house at 5 am for our 11 am appointment with Dr. McLaughlin, the breast surgeon at Mayo. (By now, we have decided to eat at as many meals at as many Cracker Barrels that we possibly can. Apparently, it is the only place to stop to eat on 95N, unless we want pecans.) Dr. McLaughlin and 2 other Dr's. examined me and reported the following consensous: "These tumors need to come out". (there are 3, by the way) So, against what I'll admit was my ill judgement, it looks like I will be having surgery after all. The date is set for Jan 6, 2010. Happy New Year.
I received many responses to the email that I sent. So many wonderful wishes and prayers. I am very fortunate for the many friends and family that I have surrounding me. I am especially thankful for my husband and my daughter. They are my strength. Together, they make quite a team. Some of the feedback I received included insight into alternative options. Emily, Paul and I are reviewing all our options. So much has changed over the years since I was last treated.
If I was going through this without Paul and Emily, I would most probably lean entirely to alternative methods. The three of us discussed this and they're not having any part of it. They are not opposed entirely to the alternatives, they just would feel better if those methods were used in conjunction with, rather than instead of traditional methods. I agreed.