On March 1, 2017I went for my routine mammogram. I always have a diagnostic mammogram done due to dense breast tissue. During this particular mammogram they found some micro calcifications that were in a linear pattern. I was asked to come back for what is called a stereotactic biopsy. This was done on Wednesday, March 8th. This was right before Spring Break for our kids and we had a big Santa Fe trip planned. We left on Saturday for the long drive to our destination. On Monday, March 13th I got "the call." A nurse practitioner from my OB/GYN's office called and said that not only did I have breast cancer - Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), but that it was stage 3. I was absolutely stunned...how could this be?
God immediately began showing Himself in my journey. I had recently learned of a friend who had gone through a similar journey. I am so grateful that I knew to call her. My head was swimming and I had no clear direction. This friend was able to share her story and give me names and information that were so helpful! Upon speaking with Eric, and my friend, I then sat down and spent some time in prayer and then sent out a note to my prayer sisters. Eric and I spent a pretty anxious, sleepless night.
I started as early as possible the next morning making phone calls and getting some appointments set. A breast surgeon by the name of Liz Lee was recommended to me so I started there. Eventually I got an appointment to see her for March 22nd. I had a tortuous 10-day wait! In the mean time, I had to put on my big girl panties so our kids wouldn't know anything was amiss. Fortunately, we found plenty to keep busy.
On March 17th we started our journey home. It wasn't long into the drive before Ryan piped up to say he had just thrown up! Yikes! As mothers we try to be prepared for moments such as this, so I whipped out the large roll of trash bags that I keep in the van. I spent the next few hours focused on keeping Ryan supplied with trash bags as we carried on down the road. It wasn't long before big sister joined the puke party! God has amusing ways of keeping us occupied sometimes. I had no time to worry about my own situation.
Fast forward to my first appointment with Dr. Lee. Eric and I immediately liked her. She came in and introduced herself and told us about the mission trip she had just returned from. Pretty unusual for a doctor to do! She asked how I was doing and I told her I had been quite anxious since being told I had Stage 3 breast cancer. Her reply to me was "oh honey, you don't have stage 3, you are a stage ZERO." You can imagine how relieved we both were! Once the exam was over she thoroughly explained what was going on and our options...AND THEN SHE ASKED IF SHE COULD PRAY FOR US! I knew that God was there.
So the basics are this: as of right now I don't need Chemo. I was given a choice of lumpectomy with 6 weeks of radiation (5 days a week) or a mastectomy. The tumor that is present is in my right breast and is approximately 2 cm. To do a lumpectomy they would have to remove 4 cm of tissue. Because of the nature of my tumor (DCIS, High Grade Negative) - it tends to be a little more aggressive - Eric and I came to the decision that a mastectomy was the best option. Further prayer and research led me to the decision to go forward with a Bilateral or Double Mastectomy.
We have not yet shared all of this with our kids. We plan to sit down with them on April 14th (Good Friday). We will all be home that day and being a 3-day weekend should hopefully give them time to process and ask questions. Please be praying for them (and us), that they will know that all is going to be OK! Ethan, in particular, tends to be a worrier.
My first procedure is Friday, April 21st (also our 17th wedding anniversary). During this procedure my breast surgeon will take a lymph node for biopsy and my plastic surgeon will do the first part of a procedure that should enable me to keep my own nipples. I will wait 2 weeks, and then, provided the lymph nodes were clear, on May 5th I will have the double mastectomy along with immediate reconstruction. My breast tissue will then be sent for pathology and hopefully will come back as an official "Stage 0." The pathology result will determine future action, which will hopefully be nothing!
I know this has been long, but I wanted you all to know what has been going on with us. We are doing OK. We are confident that God is in control and will bring us through to the other side!