Melinda Griesbaum

First post: Sep 27, 2017 Latest post: Feb 5, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. I hope that this helps someone else that is going through a similar situation.  Thank you for visiting.

I went in for my 2nd mammogram ever on August 29th.  I had one mammogram at age 41 and then waited 3 years because I had no risk factors, family history, etc. I chose to do a 2D because they were questioning if my insurance covered the 3D.   I got a call the next morning from Dr. Bennett.  I missed the call because I was with kids.  I listened to my voicemail and it was Dr. Bennett himself telling me that he needed to talk to me about my mammogram.  I figured they didn't get "enough" because that was what the tech kept asking me because they couldn't get as much as they did 3 years ago.  But when I finally got ahold of his nurse, she said I would be seeing Dr Hirner, the surgeon.  After some questions, she said she would still have Dr. Bennett call.  He called me about 4:00pm and as soon as I answered his first words were "Don't freak out!"  I told him I needed to hear him say that:)  He said they saw something they want to check out and that I would see Dr. HIrner in the morning at 9:00am to discuss a biopsy.  I said tomorrow like the next day!  Yep!  So when I went in Dr. Hirner did not seem to concerned.  She said it is a small cluster of Calcifications and zoomed in so I could see it.  It was in my left breast.  They then proceeded to have me go down to the radiologist to make sure I would have enough for a stereotactic biopsy.  She said they prefer to do these needle biopsy over the old style of cutting and getting it out.  I ended up taking the rest of the day at the clinic and then back to school to a meeting.  I really was not very concerned.  I felt like I could not pray to God to not have cancer because so many of my good friends have cancer and who am I to ask not to have it, so I prayed for God to give us peace and strength for what was to come and I did not really worry after that.  Daren, on the other hand, was very concerned.  We had the choice of September 6 or 8 for biopsy day.  I chose the 6th since the 8th was Daren's birthday and I didn't think that is what he wanted to do for his birthday.  The biopsy went very fast and I was sore but went on a run 3 days later and played sand volleyball that night:)

They told us our follow up appointment with Dr. Hirner would be  on September 12 and that is when we would get the results.  September 12 we went in around noon.  Dr. Hirner said the good news was she didn't see a malignancy but the tests were not all back in.  She said however, you do have A-typical cells which means cells that are likely to develop cancer so if the other tests come back negative she wanted to do a biopsy and get everything left out, but if the test came back positive then I had what was called DCIS, which in cancer that is noninvasive and contained in the duct.  I told her if it is DCIS I would like to go to Columbia.  At 4pm as we were going out the door for Brett's cross country meet, Dr. Hirner called and said "It is DCIS 2.2mm (which is the size of sample they got)  she said she made an appointment for me with Dr. Koivenun who trained her in Columbia (and happens to be KIm Triplett's doctor also- God once again:) for Monday, September 18 @9am.  So lots of phone calls from Columbia and Hannibal later, we went to see Dr. K and she confirmed everything Dr. Hirner said.  My choices then were lumpectomy followed by radiation or mastectomy and reconstruction with no treatment.  We spent the day at the University hospital then they asked if we could stay one more day because of my young age I qualified for genetic testing and they could also get me into see Dr. Puckett the plastic surgeon.  I said ok let's do this.  So after an evening of reading through material they gave us and weighing lumpectomy/radiation/meds verses mastectomy/no other treatment and possibly meds (my cancer is estrogen and progesterone driven) We were leaning towards mastectomy.  Genetic testing took a couple of hours.  She is fairly certain there is not much chance that I have the gene.  We will get those results by Oct. 12.  Then our appointment with plastic surgeon.  By the end of the plastics appointment I told them I wanted to schedule the bilateral masectomy with reconstruction.  It really is a personal choice.  I did not want radiation and I wanted every chance possible of not going through this again.  Dr. K and Dr. P both assured me we could wait until after Cody's white coat ceremony for vet school on Oct. 15.  We headed home.  On our way home right after Daren got pulled over:)  we got a call and it was Dr. K saying she will be going on vacation on Oct. 18 and she and Dr. P would like to do the surgery next Wed the 27th!  I was shocked and told her I'd let her know tomorrow.  She assured me I would not be able to drive or feel great, but I could go to Cody's ceremony and hug him and enjoy it.  I called back the next day and told them we would do it.  It has been a whirlwind and I really have felt a lot of peace through the whole experience because I trust God is with us in this and he has a plan.  I had my emotional and anxious moments but as I told our faith and fitness group and our church I feel all the prayers because each time I felt anxious this overwhelming peace comes over me and I was fine!  God is good!  I am nervous about surgery but today, the day before has been amazing.  My team at school wore pink breast cancer shirts and I had so many gifts/cards I couldn't imagine.  Daren and I both received so many calls and texts and messages and a wonderful facebook live challenge from sweet Alexis Humphreys for me!!  I didn't have a chance to be sad or scared today.  I had lots of tears of joy!!  For the last few weeks, I have had texts/calls/emails daily lifting me up.  My good friends took me to Java Jive yesterday after school and gave me a matching shirt and laughed with me for an hour:)  I appreciate all of the prayers, meal train, KIm, Richelle, Gabe so many others sharing what they went through and getting me ready for my big surgery day tomorrow!  I am well prepared!!  All of you mean the world to Daren and I and I know God has placed each of you in our lives.  I had a great weekend with family and friends!  I appreciate all of the prayers during and after my surgery tomorrow.  I pray to feel good for Cody's  & Stacey's white coat ceremony and to get to Brett's cross country meets and hear the boys play at Taste of Palmyra.  I pray for good results at our follow up on Monday, Oct. 2.  Thank you all for all you are doing for us!  We are beyond humbled and blessed!!  My Elementary staff are wearing running clothes tomorrow in honor of me to support me through my surgery day!  God is so good and all of you are the best!!  Love and hugs.  Daren will be taking over tomorrow so be patient with him.  He really needs prayer because I won't be able to do anything for at least a week or 2 and no driving for 3 weeks.  Dr P told me I can try to run after 6 weeks!!  This is the best way we thought we could keep everyone updated at once.  God bless you all and your huge hearts! ~Melinda

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