Tamara Toews

First post: Aug 28, 2019 Latest post: Jun 9, 2021
On July 18, 2019 my journey with cancer began.... this will be a place to keep friends and family up to date, on this journey into the unknown. I worked in a cancer ward once and seen the suffering and wondered, what would I do? Now I'm facing this reality with a one inch lump and surgery and chemo and possibly radiation coming up.... I went to the Dr on July 18, 2019. She reacted strongly to the size, and immediately said she would be sending me for a diagnostic mammogram. The mammogram was on August 6, 2019 and they decided to do an ultrasound right then too. The dr there said he would be sending me for a biopsy immediately. I asked him at the time if it was cancer, and he said it might not be. It was a solid nodule and not a cyst. On August 10, 2019 I ended up in ER with pain from the mammogram. The lump was so swollen. The dr didn't want to disrupt the flow of the appointments and gave me Tylenol 3. I managed till Monday that way. The biopsy was on August 12, 2019. They took 3 samples from the lump. And 3 samples from one lymph node. The lymph node biopsy hurt quite much. It felt like something was being poked through something and then gave way on the other side. They assured me that it was not happening like I felt. After the biopsy, they give you an ice pack and I discovered that ice was the biggest pain relief ever. I discontinued the Tylenol 3 and have taken only one since for pain. I was told on my appointment for the biopsy that I would be returning for the results on August 26 and a surgery consultation. On August 15, 2019, they called me from the steinbach clinic and said I needed to come in that day to see the dr. I kinda lost it before I went to town but when I walked in there, I felt calm and ready to hear the word, cancer. The nurse practitioner told me that the lymph node biopsy came back negative, which was very good news. Then she said that the lump results were CANCER. She said she was pretty certain that chemo would not be on the table. But radiation would be a necessity. I went home and tried to process this. I thought, ok I can handle surgery. I've had surgery before, not a big deal. And then I heard radiation wasnt bad, like a bad sunburn. So when I got called in earlier than August 26, for the surgery consult, I felt prepared for surgery and radiation. On August 21, 2019, Ruth and Trina and I walked into the breast cancer clinic.... Nothing prepared me for the dr saying that I would need chemotherapy, and that I would be losing all my hair. My sister Ruth and niece, Trina were there with me.... looking back I'm so grateful for them. I felt completely numb... and could hardly think after. We were at the appointment place from 1pm till 430pm. Papers and more papers to go over. Information that went completely over my head. I was so glad that Trina wrote things down.
I have an aggressive breast cancer called HER 2 positive. According to online, HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells have a gene mutation that makes an excess of the HER2 protein.
My lump is 3cm x 2cm x 2cm. It does not hurt much now. I kinda forget it's there.
I will be getting a port or a pick line put in for the Herceptin medication, which will start at the first chemo treatment and last a whole year. That medication targets the free floating HER 2 positive cells.
I've been told to expect to take a year off of work. I'm planning on working till September 6th, 2019.