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My Breast Cancer Journey
Sep 16, 2018 Latest post:
May 1, 2019
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I'm using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. This is my story, so let's begin....
I have breast cancer. In all my life I never thought I'd have to say those words. I've always been pretty healthy. Plus, if I'm being honest, I had the mentality that bad things happen to other people. But, here I am; confused, scared, unsure, and somewhat in denial.
January 30, 2018 I went for my first ever routine mammogram. Tiny calcifications were found so I went back for a diagnostic mammogram on February 12, 2018. At that time, the radiologist didn't feel there was a reason to worry, but as a precaution, wanted me to come back in 6 months to make sure they hadn't grown. So, 6 months later on August 14, 2018, I went to Southern Tennessee Regional and had my second diagnostic mammogram. The radiologist informed me that they had significantly increased in number. Not size, but number. His recommendation was that I have a biopsy. On August 21, 2018 I met with Dr.James Richardson in Columbia and discussed the procedure. We scheduled my biopsy for August 30 at the Women's Center at Maury Regional. On September 4, 2018 Dr. Richardson called me and told me I have DCIS; Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. That means the pre cancerous cells had not spread outside the mammary duct. I went to see him on August 6 to discuss having surgery to remove what we thought at the time was not invasive cancer. We scheduled the surgery for September 12. After my visit with him on the 6th, he called to tell me that pathology had sent an addendum stating that not only do I have DCIS, I also have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and that would change everything. Surgery would still proceed as planned on the 12th, but they would now have to perform a biopsy of my nodes to make sure they were cancer free so that it couldn't spread to other areas of my body.
Since finding out on September 6, 2018 that I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, I have experienced every emotion under the sun. So much has happened since then, and I still have trouble wrapping my head around it. On Wednesday, September 12, 2018 I had a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy. My surgeon removed a golf ball sized area of cancerous tissue from my left breast. 4 lymph nodes were also removed to biopsy for cancer. Luckily no cancer was found in my lymph nodes. Praise Jesus! I am now recovering from surgery and have experienced a great deal of pain and soreness. I've struggled to sleep and I've struggled coming to terms with what's happened. I will begin radiation in about 3 weeks. At this point, that's all I know. In the meantime, I'm reading and learning about my type of cancer. Mine is not hereditary. It's what's called sporadic, meaning damage to a cell of my DNA was done after birth. I don't know how or when, or if that’s truly the explanation.
Unless you've been diagnosed with cancer or some other disease, it's difficult to understand just how hard it is to process what you're going through both mentally and physically. Lucky for me I have a great support system, but even having that, you still don't know how to cope with it internally. How do you go from living such a routine life to suddenly having multiple doctor's visits, multiple people calling, texting, or visiting, having to explain your situation over and over, trying to keep a positive outlook when all you really want to do is scream, constantly saying thank you, etc. It's so much all at once that it becomes overwhelming. I'm truly thankful for all the positive outreach from my family and friends, but when you aren't used to being the center of attention, it can be quite uncomfortable at times. I live a very quiet life. Some would even say that I've become a recluse. I would agree with that, and that's why the attention has been challenging for me. I'm extremely grateful for it, but it's one more thing that makes having breast cancer hard.
If I sound ungrateful, I'm sorry. The purpose behind me sharing my story is to share it ALL. Not to sugarcoat any part of it because this is real. These are real feelings, emotions and fears of mine that I'm sharing so that you and others can hopefully understand.
I'll be sharing updates about where I am in the recovery process. I may also share journal entries about how I'm feeling mentally as well as physically. You're welcome to comment and share your thoughts and feelings as well. If you choose to follow my journey and be a part of it, all I ask is that you are respectful and know that anything I say is not intended to offend. Everything I'm sharing comes from a place of love. I'm using this is an avenue for me to not only share health updates, but to also share my pain when I need extra support.
Update: an Oncotype Dx test was ordered by my Oncologist. The results determined that I’m at risk for recurrence within my lifetime. Due to that, I’ll have chemo after completing radiation. You can check journal entries for updates related to chemo.
Thank you for taking the time to visit and read my story. Much love to you! God bless!