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Oct 13, 2019 Latest post:
Feb 28, 2020
It’s October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - and this year, I certainly have an even deeper awareness as I, too, am newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Although I’ve walked the 60-mile, 3-Day Komen Walk in Atlanta and a couple half-marathons in Florida to raise funds in honor of a dozen or more dear friends who are survivors and in memory of several who beat me to heaven, no step on any of these walks compares to the personal shuffle I am making now toward healing and health. Personal experience is the game changer.
As women of age, our list of annual appointments always includes the mammogram crush. Honestly, we often postpone it, somehow believing we’re healthy and too busy taking care of more pressing priorities. I have certainly done that, even missing my October, 2018 mammogram, but squeezed it in on February 22, 2019. Just a four-month delay … no biggie. And then, the Radiologist asked me to return the following week for one more “vise-like crunch” and an ultra sound. The Radiologist thought she saw a shadow on my films and just wanted another look. Unfortunately, my tumor hid from the technician, leaving all of us to think there was nothing of concern.
What a blessing Northside Radiologist Dr. Norris suggested I return in 6 months, AND I OBEYED WITHOUT DELAY, believing it was totally precautionary. I returned September 9th, and there it was … a 7 mm tumor, difficult to detect by mammogram because it’s almost squarely in the middle of my chest, barely in my right breast. So, on 9/11, they biopsied the tumor, and on 9/12, I was told I have an Invasive Ductile Carcinoma.
God in His great mercy (working through dear friends at Lake Burton) opened doors for us to be seen by Dr. Booser, chief of breast oncology at MD Anderson Hospital. On 9/18, six days after diagnosis, Van and I were off to Houston and spent a week undergoing extensive re-testing and a reactive, lymph-node biopsy. They determined we caught the cancer very early, and the markers are pointing to Stage 1 and highly treatable! With Dr. Booser’s blessing, we returned to Atlanta on 9/25. Again, prayers were answered as dear friends and extended family members quickly connected us with Dr. Bill Barber, mastectomy surgeon, and Dr. Grace Ma, reconstruction surgeon.
Only through God’s favor, answering the prayers so many of you have lifted up during this time of need, am I scheduled for surgery Friday, October 18. The plan is a bilateral mastectomy followed by implant reconstruction, IF THERE IS ADEQUATE BLOOD FLOW. They will also biopsy both Sentinel lymph nodes, other nodes, and tissue to validate the Stage 1 diagnosis … or not. If they find cancer in lymph nodes, my odyssey will move on a different path that will include chemotherapy. If no other cancer is found and my genetic test shows no need for chemotherapy, I will move forward with finalizing reconstruction and hormon receptor therapy for five years.
This journey is just as circuitous as the roads I’ve walked for Breast Cancer research and treatment funding, but I now know I’m blessed “immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20) to be on this new route. God is using this to re-calibrate my pace and my relationship with Him, and for that, I am eternally grateful!