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3/31/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time when it matters most.
This journey began on President's Day with a 6 month follow up diagnostic mammogram. At that point the calcifications that were being monitored in the left breast were unchanged, but a new mass had appeared. What followed was a biopsy on Feb. 22 with the unfortunate news a couple days later that the removed sample was cancerous. On March 3, a lumpectomy was done, with removal of the lump, 2 lymph nodes and the calcifications that were being monitored. All this happened very quickly, only 11 days from biopsy to surgery. We were pretty much in shock and stunned with the whole process. Neither Marty or I expected that I would have Breast Cancer! The pathology results determined that the tumor was 2.2 cm in size (stage 2) and cancer cells were found in one of the 2 lymph nodes. The type of breast cancer I have is invasive ductal carcinoma. It was triple positive for those who are interested in that kind of thing. The tumor margins were clear, which is a good thing and the calcifications were non-cancerous. The oncologist shared this news with us and it still seemed hard to believe he was talking about me. Like any big change, time is needed to adjust.
Now we have a plan for intervention. My physician and myself are confident this will be something I will survive. It is a long, unexpected detour, but one that I can take. So the plan:
- chemotherapy with 4 drugs + 2 anti-side effects meds once every 21 days for 6 cycles (18 weeks).
- radiation 5 times per week for 6 weeks after the chemotherapy
- after radiation ends in September, one of the chemo drugs (Herceptin) once every 21 days after that for 17 cycles (51 weeks)
- After then I will take an oral medication for 5 years This whole cycle will take over a year. To make the medication administration and blood draws easier, I had a mediport implanted. That happened Tuesday, March 29th. I named my mediport Chump. I will have Chump as a companion on the right side of my upper chest for about 1 1/2 years. Right now, Chump is acclimating to it's new home.
In an effort to prepare for some of the side effects of the chemo, I got my hair cut! I now have short hair that I haven't had since I was about 24 years old. It is quite a change and I have Cari (from Vicki's Personal Touch hair salon) to thank for knowing what to do. It was quite a shock to see a big pile of hair on the floor and Cari kept my spirits up during the whole haircut and style.
I am still working on letting people know about this change in my life. It has taken me awhile to be able to say these words to someone: "I have breast cancer". It is not something you can casually bring up in conversation, say in the lunch room or discuss casually around students. It is even worse to write about in an email. So slowly I am getting the word out. I hope this site will be helpful, especially for friends and family who are far away. I just want everyone to know I appreciate all your caring, prayers and positive thoughts. Thanks, XOXO