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Jun 30, 2018 Latest post:
10 hours ago
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. Donations through this site are not fundraising for patient care. This is a free service. I personally donate to this charity because it is so beneficial in assisting with communication with a large number of people while patients are focusing on treatment and recovery. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. This will also help us manage communications and keep focus on my return to health in a sometimes chaotic world of communication (email, cell phone, text).
As of Wednesday, I have confirmed breast cancer in one breast. The multiple masses are separate from each other (as opposed to a spread from one mass to another). The masses are different sizes and "staging" from each other. Pathology report shows 1 of 3 masses is benign (not malignant, no treatment necessary). The most worrisome mass is invasive ductal carcinoma; it's large and at the maximum limit for keeping the current pre-surgical opinion that while I need surgical and long -term hormonal intervention I may or may not undergo chemo and/or radiation. There is a 4th mass that has not yet been biopsied but will be removed in surgery. That 4th one may or may not be a malignant cancer of its own. The results of my genetic testing of my DNA coupled with other pending test results and the surgical findings will determine those further interventions of chemo and radiation.
My current treatment time frame from my "TEAM" of doctors is 6-12 mos in duration from diagnosis to "cancer-free" status. So far, we have high prognostic indication that I could be free of breast cancer in the very long-term as it is still contained within the left breast and we don't believe the unbiopsied mass is a growth that went from one of these tumors all the way to the chest wall. That would be more worrisome as would any lymph node involvement that could be discovered in surgery. We are not expecting any bad news from here on out and I had a sigh of relief and a quick teardrop release when it was discovered in one of my biopsies that there appears to be no lymph node involvement. It was a surprise to my doctors and allowed cancellation of an axillary (armpit and more needles) lymph node biopsy. The Final Pathology report AFTER surgery will give me my official staging results and long-term prognosis. I am beginning the process of a 2nd opinion for at least the non-surgical part of my intervention and I believe I'm going to Mayo in Rochester, MN but still considering while keeping in mind skill and objectivity. I absolutely have had the best care I could have asked for so far and I still have 100% trust in all of their abilities and my own to get me cancer-free.
I FULLY expect to be free from breast cancer in many years to come. The current team recommendation is a mastectomy of my left breast. I still have pending test results and doctor visits that could be changing the recommendation to a double mastectomy. I am in pre-operative status and have not yet been released for surgery. Docs prefer it to be sooner rather than later. So far, that window is between July 10 -3rd week of August and not later (per TEAM) as we have to clear an active urinary tract infection (I'm on antibiotics), attend more first meetings with my team of doctors, receive more test results, and investigate other symptoms I am having which could be related to this stupid UTI. My current surgery window seems to not allow for me to physically help move Becca into her dorm at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Oh well. Mike's strong and so are the girls. It's about time they pulled their weight with some of the chores, driving needs and schedules around here. Insert Smiley Face....My blessings are never-ending. We are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in September. We've been celebrating all year already. Mike's parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in October. I am celebrating my 50th birthday in December. I am happier and healthier than I have ever been and my poor family has to go through this and their health, happiness, and strength was already put to a challenging test and they all passed with flying colors!!!
I will ask for any help along the way. For now, I will gladly accept encouragement and prayers. While I was awaiting biopsy results, I reached out to a nursing school friend and asked her to have her wife (a minister) say a prayer in the next church service and she did. Complete strangers have already prayed for me. And if I need more, I'll ask. While I'm not religious, I'm spiritual. Anyone's spiritual journey is something of customization, it is his/her own and I believe faith (as it's most loosely defined) is important for all. Please- no signs, bracelets, or ribbons anywhere. It's not meaningful to me in MY recovery. It absolutely helps others in theirs. I feel my community of support. It is gigantic and I am more than blessed. I am very fortunate to have access to terrific healthcare. I wish everyone did. I am working to keep a healthy mind, body, and spirit with the utmost purpose and meaning. We've GOT THIS!!!
Mike, Becca, and Lillian have been super strong, loving and logical in all of this. My father and siblings have as well. We (Mike and girls have respected my wishes) could not tell everyone right away because I honestly couldn't deal with that much support at once nor the questions that would result while I was awaiting my biopsy results. It was a bit overwhelming just to break news necessitating this website creation but man, I am fortunate. We've had a lot of cancer in my Krueger family and while a few passed too young, many, many lived a full life and that goes back generations without all of the medical technology, treatments and discoveries of today. 1 in 8 women will face breast cancer. While it's the 2nd highest cause of death behind lung cancer among women (I seem to recall from school and I could be mistaken), breast cancer is the most treatable with the best long-term outcomes. Do not hesitate to ask questions. If I'm uncomfortable in answering I just won't. If you're uncomfortable, consider asking anyway. It opens dialogue, promotes learning, and effects change. I am happy to share if it's helpful, I'm happy to be a live case study, and I like to advocate, teach, and sometimes even preach. Thank you for visiting.