Michelle Christensen | CaringBridge

Michelle Christensen

First post: Jul 25, 2018 Latest post: Sep 13, 2018
As you are aware I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Mine is estrogen and progesterone receptor positive with HER2 1+.


 My story begins with my sister. Through her misfortune of too having breast cancer and having to under go a mastectomy in March, she has saved my life. I have been going every 6 months for a mammogram and ultra sound for the past 10 years or so, as I have very dense breasts and have lots of cysts and calcifications. My last mammogram was in April 2017. It showed all the "normal" things for what is normal for me. 


Once my sister was diagnosed, I contacted my doctor for an appointment as I had more cysts and pain in my left breast that I thought should be addressed. My doctor said I should now have an MRI annually as I am now at a higher risk for breast cancer due to my sister's diagnosis. It took a month to get the test approved by my insurance company and then a month to get the results. I received notification from the doctor that I needed to come in as there was something of concern. Thanks to technology, I was able to go on to MyChart and read the results myself. It said I had two masses highly suspicious of malignancy. Obviously, I  was prepared for the worst before reading the results, but it still makes your heart jump into your throat reading the words. 


My appointment was June 5. My breast surgeon went over the results and MRI  images with me. She did a breast exam and the masses could not be detected.  I had an ultra sound and mammogram that day. The ultra sound confirmed the masses and the mammogram showed only cysts and not the cancer. On June 7, I had a needle core biopsy with four samples taken. June 11, I received confirmation, yes it is breast cancer. 
My doctors worked very quickly to order the needed tests to include a chest x-ray, bone scan, blood work and PET scan. 


I saw the oncologist on June 13 for the first time. He went over my results of the diagnosis and ordered a few more tests.
I then saw the oncologist again on June 22.  It appeared the results were coming back fine, so I began taking tamoxifen in hopes of bypassing chemotherapy. Early the next week my oncologist called and said that they believe the cancer is invading the chest wall muscle, so I am now classified with stage 3 breast cancer.  He stated he is ordering more tests to include an ultra sound of the left arm pit to check the lymph nodes and right breast for a shadow seen and an MRI of the right shoulder. Luckily they came back fine except, I do have osteoarthritis in my shoulder. 



I met with the oncologist again July 13 were we discussed my chemotherapy plan. I will begin chemotherapy July 25. I will go every two weeks for two months and then once a week for 12 weeks for a total of 5 months. I have to get an echocardiogram this coming week and get the port put it. I will loose my hair folks - so be kind! As far as surgery goes, only time will tell. I am still waiting for results from genetic testing, which can reveal a lot or not. We are shooting for lumpectomy, but it could be a mastectomy. I still have a couple of hurdles to jump.


I plan to continue working as I am able. With precautions, I am confident that all will go well. I appreciate all the love, prayers, well wishes and support I have received. I am sure I will need assistance and will be calling on you all at some point. 


As a family we are doing well. We fight back with jokes and sarcasim. Otherwise all that's left is tears. As this sucks, I do believe everything happens for a reason, even when we may not know why for a long time. I will get through this, it's just another bump in the game we call life. 


I love you all even though I may not say it often enough or show it as well as I should.


I will keep you posted as new things occur!


Love,


Michelle and family

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