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Jul 25, 2014
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We've created it to keep friends and family updated about our loved one. Get started by reading the introduction to our website, My Story.
Visit often to read the latest journal entries, visit the photo gallery, and write us a note in our guestbook. Rebecca and Rick
it's Jan 7th, 2012 And it's hard to believe this is real. It's all happened pretty fast but it seems like forever ago at the same time.
The last day of October 2011, I was drying my hair in front of the mirror after a shower and noticed a discoloration around the aereola on my right breast. I showed it to Rick and he didn't think it was anything to worry about. A couple days later I noticed the breast starting to get red and hot and a little swollen. I called and made an appointment with my family doctor for the following Wednesday. That was on a Friday. By Monday evening, the breast was a very angry red and I decided not to wait until Wednesday and went to the urgent care clinic after work. Rick had mentioned my symptoms to our friend Gail, and owner of the shop where we work. She is a cancer survivor and is very informed on many different kinds of cancers. She was very quick to tell us about an aggressive kind of cancer that acts just like I described, called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It doesn't show up on mammograms because there's not a localized tumor, but more of a mass.. The cancer cells grow quickly and block the mammary ducts so it appears like an infection,. She printed out some information off the internet and gave it to us, and told us to ask the doctor to rule out IBC and not let them just put me on antibiotics. Well easier said than done. The first thing the doc did when he looked at this was prescribe antibiotics. When we tried to tell him about the other, he told us to stay off the net and quit worrying about all the bad stuff. He told me to keep my appointment with my doctor for the follow-up for cellulitis as he diagnosed it. So I went to the doctor on Wednesday, and he confirmed cellulitis, again by just looking at it, and told me to come back the following week after I finished the 10 days of antibiotics.. The next week, I still had the same infection symptoms, so he increased the antibiotics. By this time I'd had enough, and called a doctor recommended to me at San Antonio Military Medical Center by a friend of Gail's. I got an appointment a couple days later and when they saw me, they did a skin-punch biopsy. This was now the week before Thanksgiving and it wasn't until the week after Thanksgiving that I received the results: Invasive ductal carcinoma consistent with inflammatory breast cancer. Then we started all the tests to confirm the diagnosis: Mammograms, Ultrasounds, ultrasound guided biopsies in deep tissue and lypmh node, Breast MRI They confirmed it, had a cancer team meeting, met with the tumor board, got me in two days later to have a chest port placement in my left breast, and scheduled a PETscan and heart scan, with chemo to start the next week. It all happened so fast, that I had to have a 2nd opinion. It just so happened that the annual breast cancer symposium was meeting in San Antonio that same week in Dec and I was introduced to a Patient Advocate from California, that was very familar with Inflammatory Breast Cancer. He helped me through the process of getting an appointment with the head of the inflammatory breast cancer clinic at MD Anderson in Houston the following week.. So we repeated all the tests I'd had done at SAMMC, and also did the PET scan that I cancelled once I knew I was going to MDACC. The PET scan confirmed that the cancer had not gone beyond the breast and lymph nodes and it is currently stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer. They wanted me to start chemo there in Houston. The logistics of driving weekly for treatments from San Antonio to Houston was just too much, so we were able to get the doctor from MD Anderson to work with the oncologist from SAMMC and have my treatments done in San Antonio. I still haven't decided where I'll be having the surgery and radiation done once this 6-months of chemo is completed. I had my first chemo treatment Jan 5th, and it went relatively well. Long day but not too bad. We know the treatments are cummulative, so I don't expect them all to be that easy. But as a customer at our post office told Rick today. "Don't look at it as the first cancer treatment, look at it as the first day of recovery. The cancer cells are in the first stages of being eradicated and each time you'll just be getting closer to the cure." I promised Steve, my patient advocate, that I would find the beauty in each day, and take one day at a time. I'm positive that we had the right people in our lives to catch this in time and we will get through this on the other side, cancer free.