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This Journey official began on February 28, 2017. I had discovered a pencil eraser sized spot and went in for a check up. We addressed several health issues that were a surprise before we even got to the spot. My blood pressure was rather elevated and she did an ekg to be sure there were not other issue there. She did a lung function test and the results were not great, no surprise there. I left with a new blood pressure med and a diagnosis of COPD which I new would get added at some point. Blood work was collected. And a mammogram and diagnostic ultrasound of the right side were scheduled for March 3rd.
Whew. Okay something but so many people get to this point and it turns out to be some simple explaination. Mammaogram was typical and ultrasound was in progress. Tech said she needed to send images to the radiologist to be sure he didn't need others. She returns with her to say that he really needs to ultrasound the other side also. Okay. Just breathe. Later I read that normally a patient doesn't even see the radiologist at this stage. Just a signature on a report. The doctors office is closed on Friday so we cannot get the order for the left ultrasound. They schedule me for noon on Monday to get this done. Crazy things happen. Grace knew that I had a check up but had no idea of anything else going on. She popped into my room Sunday morning and asked if I had cancer. I could say there was No reason for me to confirm that at the time. But wow! Monday at the ultrasound the tech tells me she is sorry I am going through all this. Ugh.
My doctor calls to say that my bloodwork is back and isn't great. Need to make some changes. And that the ultrasound indicates several areas of concern and I am scheduled with a surgeon to move forward. My doctor is concerned about several places and a lymph node that is concerning. March 8th I meet with the breast surgeon. She looks everything over, me and all the reports and schedules a biopsy asap. They will call. It takes almost two weeks to get in for the biopsies. That seems like forever. Finally that day arrives. The biopsy process is interesting. They do one spot on each side and the lymph node. About twenty samples are taken. I feel am bruised and abused. We wait again. Bob, Mom and I got for the results and to meet with the surgeon. She says the original spot is Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Today that terminology is understandable but that day it wasn't. Sounds like a negative results. What you hope for. Yeah, not so much the case. She explains a few details about this diagnosis. It often responds to chemo and is harder to treat than one of the more common types of breast cancer. Often the first step is surgery. Either lumpectomy or mastectomy. But with TNBC that is not the best plan because there isn't a sure protocol so they need to treat before they operate so that can be sure it is effective. She draws blood for BRCA testing. Chemo. Surgery. Radiation. She talks about a couple of great oncologists. I leave with a promise of a call with an appointment. Bob and I meet with Dr Sarma. He asks questions and we answer them. Seems to be in agreement with everything that has been suggested. He orders an MRI of the breast area to look at surrounding areas. He also wants a PET scan to look everywhere because TNBC spreads so easily. The first chemo will require an ECHO of my heart because adriamycin is known cause damage to the heart. It has to be monitored closely so that an acceptable amount of damage is not exceeded. 😳 All those days that seemed to drag on have suddenly started whizzing by. So fast and furious. I had to have a port placed in my chest to administer the chemo through. I had six appointments in four days. We learned a lot in the chemo education class. Okay ready to begin.
I'll try to update soon and keep somewhat of a regular schedule. Read if you want. Skip it if you need to.